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THE writing of a comparatively lengthy treatise upon 
so complicated a theme as Port Sunlight would have 
been impossible without the co-operation of all those 
who fill special positions in the Village, for they alone 
are in possession of detailed information. I am glad 
to bear witness to the generous and whole-hearted 
manner in which all the officials of the Works and 
the members of the committees of the institutions 
placed their knowledge at my disposal. It would be 
pleasant to be able to thank them all, and to let 
them know that without their help this book could 
not have been exhaustive, but that they are too 
numerous will easily be gathered from the following 
rough list of interviews which I had whilst at Port 
Sunlight : 

Working men and women . . .31 
Clerks . . . .- .11 

Foremen and officials ... 9 
Employees of institutions and others . 36 


Among the "others" are the hospital, public-house, 


and church staffs, etc. I should, however, like to 
mention two persons, the value of whose help I cannot 
overrate. One is Miss H. A. Carson, B.A., who has 
kindly undertaken the arduous task of revising and 
correcting the subject-matter of this book and who 
has placed at my disposal much valuable information 
concerning education, etc. The other is Mr. W. H. 
Williams, the Social Secretary of Port Sunlight, thanks 
to whom I was able to collect abundant notes. He 
has been unsparing in his pains both during and since 
my stay in the Village ; it is not too much to say that 
without him the book could not have been written 
at all. 

W. L. G. 









TURE ... . 61 








X. PROFIT AND Loss 192 

INDEX 211 





SITE OF THE VILLAGE . . . . . 4 










COTTAGES .... 64 




COTTAGES ..... 72 








COTTAGES . . .82 
















LIBRARY AND MUSEUM . . .- . . . .118 
























AMONGST the many significant developments of the 
last twenty years, the promotion of social schemes is 
perhaps the most striking proof that the nature of 
man has rapidly been changing and that the twentieth 
century will witness many innovations that would have 
appeared Utopian to our older schools of individualists. 
The movement inaugurated by the "good" Lord 
Shaftesbury has gained such momentum that we have 
begun to look upon the study of industrial betterment 
as an exact science, upon the putting in practice of the 
newly evolved principles as a duty. Thus it is not 
surprising to see a reaction setting in against the iron 
laws that governed industry during the early Victorian 
era, a reaction in favour of good housing and fair 
treatment for the workers ; we have at last begun to 
look upon the worker as something more than a 
dividend-earning machine, to recognize his rights as a 
man and a brother. Whether this be a direct result of 
the successive Reform Bills which have placed power 



in the hands of the people, and of compulsory free 
education tending to make them fit to use this 
power, or whether our new outlook is due to the tardy 
awakening of the national conscience, we need not 
attempt to decide. 

The practical social worker concerns himself little 
with motives and origins ; for him there is only one 
question to be put : Is this good for the people ? For 
him there is no tainted money ; for him no instalment 
of justice, no token of good-will is so small that he 
cannot accept it. He knows naught but love of 
the people and, burning with their wrongs, he will 
willingly accept any sacrifice of dignity, even forego 
more or less illusory privileges of freedom, if such 
abnegation can become the means of regenerating his 
fellows ; for he knows well that ultimately mankind 
will reassert itself and, strengthened and purified, 
triumphantly attain that which is its own by right. 

The modern social spirit is a spirit of expediency ; 
in no previous period of history has compromise reigned 
supreme as it does nowadays in Great Britain, and 
never has a force worked so potently for the public 
good. I do not seek to cast a slur upon extremists, 
whether sunk in crude individualism or floating in the 
ether of " might be " ; they are valuable and indeed, 
essential, components of the body politic, which they 
leaven and invigorate ; but, superior as they may be 
to the invertebrate "average," their works are not 
direct, not concrete. The active social worker has a 
composite personality, for he belongs by temperament 
to the section of extreme dreamers and yet has enough 
of the " average " characteristics to limit in some 
degree the flights of his enthusiasm. These three 


the capitalistic octopus, the Laodicean average man, 
and the social reformer whose life is a dream of ideals 
are the basic types ; from the highest to the lowest the 
gradation is infinite, but the truly useful social worker 
is the man of the central type, influenced by thoughts 
of higher things. Such a man will compromise, and 
thus only can he hope to succeed. 

The ancient democrats and revolutionaries, particu- 
larly those of the seventeenth and early nineteenth 
centuries, are examples of this peculiar type, rich in 
common sense as in ideals, and able, like Mortensgore, 
" to will only that to which they know they can attain." 
Our modern social workers are of a different stamp, for 
their efforts are now directed less against what we 
call political than against " social " evils ; their aim is 
to heal the diseases of our economic system rather 
than to reconstruct it in its entirety ; thus they strive 
less for a democratic franchise, for a representative 
Second Chamber, than for such reforms as improved 
housing and more equitable land tenure. They seek 
to minimize existing evils in the hope of ultimately 
uprooting them, when at last the nature of man will 
be born again and he will come into his birthright. 

It is to this new spirit, therefore, that we can trace 
the numerous schemes which have been promoted 
for the benefit of the people. These schemes vary 
with the temperament of their originators ; some are 
entirely philanthropic, others severely business-like, 
but even the latter are tinged with good-will. It would 
be difficult to classify these efforts, but they all tend 
in the same direction, whether they be those of a 
Peabody or an Iveagh, a Cadbury or a Howard, a 
Livesey or a Lever. For the social student it matters 


little to what party these men belong, however dis- 
tasteful he may find their political views ; it matters 
even little whether their works were originally intended 
to enslave the people yet further, to warp their minds 
or destroy their power of combination ; all he needs 
to know is whether the balance of betterment is in 
their favour or not ; if it be favourable (and any 
nefarious plans have miscarried) then he will not 
hesitate to give them his approval and his most loyal 

' The schemes referred to are representative of the 
three cksses of social work. The Peabody Fund, the 
Guinness Trust, and Bournville Village are philan- 
thropic in their origin, for their promoters demanded 
no return for their outlay and abandoned, in favour of 
further extension, any profits that might eventually 
accrue to them ; Garden City stands midway between 
altruism and egoism, for it limits the profits of its 
supporters and makes over eventual credit balances to 
the people ; the South Metropolitan Gas Company * 
and Port Sunlight are instances of the third class, 
namely, purely business-like transactions informed by 
good-will. As these differences are fully dealt with in 
another chapter it is unnecessary to say more about 
them here ; it is enough to note at the outset that 
Port Sunlight belongs to the " business " group, and 
then to show that such classification is correct. 

Philanthropy pure and simple is often required to 
lead the way in social effort, to arouse public opinion 
and sow in men's minds the seed from which progress 
will spring ; to this, however, its function is limited 
and, if it enter the executive ranks of social work, it is 
* The late Sir George Livesey's scheme. 


THE VILLAGE. [Tofacep. 4. 


likely to do more harm than good, to create as many 
unfortunates as it relieves, and thus to perpetuate the 
very evils against which it struggles. Of course there 
are many cases in which philanthropy alone can act, 
such as the immediate relief of unemployment, the 
immediate rescue of the hungry child, but the ad- 
jective " immediate " explains that philanthropic action 
is only a makeshift, and that we can build upon it 
nothing real and permanent. No social scheme is 
worthy of the name unless it can be made to pay its 
way ; we do not want to see our co-operative societies, 
housing systems, or land settlements turned into profit- 
earning organizations, but they must be self-support- 
ing. Groups of this kind can justify their existence 
only by subsisting independently of outside help, 
otherwise they are hardly worth preserving. 

Port Sunlight, as has already been said, is not 
a philanthropic venture, nor is it a dividend-earning 
concern ; it is an attempt to establish a good under- 
standing between the warring forces of Capital and 
Labour, for the greater benefit of both ; in the words 
of the founder, " to Socialize and Christianize business 
relations and get back again in the office, factory, and 
workshop to that close family brotherhood that existed 
in the good old days of hand labour." * 

Such an aim reveals a measure of idealism, and this 
alone entitles Port Sunlight to a place among social 
schemes, however commercial its basis may be ; 
neither ideals nor business principles have been lost 
sight of; both in fact were good fairies invited to 
bless by their presence the birth of the Village. 

* Paper by Mr. W. H. Lever, in the Birkenhead Afavs t Ncy em- 
ber 24, 1900, 


light is an infant city, for it attains its majority only in 
March of next year, the first sod having been cut 
in March, 1888; strictly speaking, the Village came 
into existence only at the end of 1889, so that it does 
not at present date back much further than nineteen 
years. So settled and organized is the little com- 
munity that this is hardly apparent to the visitor, 
except when he crosses the large open spaces enclosed 
in the estate, which are clearly still in process of 
development. The origin of the Village must be 
sought in the extension of the Works, and in this, 
at the inception, we already find the link between the 
industry and the workers which, down to the present 
day, has never been broken. When, in 1887, the 
Warrington soap works became cramped for space, 
Messrs. Lever Brothers decided to remove to some 
distant site where their industry could expand ; at 
that time the Village was not formally planned : the 
main object of the removal was to obtain cheap land 
and enough of it. The site was chosen near the 
Mersey, a little south of New Ferry, on the banks 
of an inlet known as Bromborough Pool ; it extended 
over about fifty-six acres and was acquired at the 
comparatively cheap rate of 200 per acre, which is 
not surprising to those who remember the estate as it 
then was. 

Anything more unprepossessing than this site can 
hardly be imagined. It was mostly but a few feet 
above high-water level, and liable at any time to be 
flooded by high tides, and thus to become undistinguish- 
able from the muddy foreshores of the Mersey. More- 
over, an arm of Bromborough Pool spread in various 


directions through the Village, filling the ravines with 
ooze and slime ; a few houses, or rather shanties, were 
scattered on the higher portions, whose condition as 
regards sanitation can easily be conjectured. It was 
land suitable for a dock, but it did not, at first sight, 
seem fitted for human settlement. Since 1887, how- 
ever, twenty years of work have so changed the face 
of the estate as to make it unrecognizable ; apart 
from building operations, the very topography has 
been recast. Not only has the area been increased 
to two hundred and twenty-one acres, of which some 
one hundred and thirty are now devoted to the 
Village, but a certain amount of land has been 
reclaimed. I can recollect the time (eight years ago) 
when a sheet of stagnant water filled the Bromborough 
Pool dell. It has been dammed and surrounded with 
smiling houses, so that the numerous hollows in the 
Village are free from the menace of floods. These, 
too, are being drained and half filled up ; some have 
already been partly planted with trees, while the rest 
are being treated in the same manner ; a radical 
change has taken place, and the swamps that once 
disgraced the neighbourhood are now almost entirely 
transformed from centres of infection into grass-grown 
open spaces and playing fields. 

At the present time Port Sunlight extends over 
a slope rising gently from Bromborough Pool, an arm 
of the Mersey, to about forty feet above it ; at the 
water's edge are the Works with their dock, very few 
houses being nearer the Pool than three hundred 
yards. This rising ground is broken by the hollows 
marked on the map, at present three in number. 
The largest, over which Victoria Bridge has been 


built, was once directly connected with, and practically 
a portion of, Bromborough Pool, but it is now cut off 
by a dam, and is being filled up ; it is already partly 
occupied by the rifle-range, and the remainder will 
never be built on, but will be used either as a public 
garden or as allotment land. The second dell, which 
formerly communicated with the first, has been turned 
into a park, which already boasts fine trees and is 
partly occupied by the auditorium. The third hollow 
lies towards the north-west ; this, too, has been drained, 
and is now an excellent playing field with wooded 
banks. It is indeed characteristic of Port Sunlight 
that rusticity has everywhere been preserved ; the 
builder has almost invariably respected the trees, 
which are numerous and healthy ; so great was his 
regard for them that, in several places, they have 
even been allowed to encroach upon the footway, thus 
adding to the rural effect 

It will be gathered from all this that the trans- 
formation has been considerable ; indeed, it is not too 
much to say that the bulk of the estate consists of 
land that has been reclaimed for human inhabitation, 
for an insanitary area has within twenty years been 
transformed into a flourishing and healthy village, very 
green and English in its aspect, and clean as the pro- 
verbial Dutch town. 

describing the Village in detail, it is necessary to 
obtain an idea of the basis of the scheme which it 
represents. As has already been said, the necessities 
of the business necessitated its removal from Warring- 
ton, and it was only some time afterwards that the 
idea which was forming in the mind of the founder 


began to take shape ; whether future developments 
on such a scale were anticipated may be doubted, but 
it is safe to say that prosperous works, and, side by 
side with them, an industrial village, were already 
aimed at. It was only later that the ideals took 
definite shape, and that the improvement and exten- 
sion of Port Sunlight became comparable to profit- 
sharing. At the present time, however, the Village 
is emphatically a profit-sharing scheme on improved 
lines, i.e. Prosperity-sharing. 

The early Victorian idea of profit-sharing is pro- 
bably by this time relegated to the limbo of theory ; 
in principle, the idea of a participation by the 
employees in the profits of an enterprise is exceed- 
ingly attractive. It suggests close co-operation 
between master and workman, where each man would 
strive for the benefit of all, would be nerved to do his 
best, and thus to rise above the level of wage-earning 
slavery up to that of industrial partnership. In the 
years that preceded the Factory Acts, when un- 
restrained commercial tyranny prevailed in every 
trade and sweating was rather the rule than the 
exception, profit-sharing appeared as an ideal appli- 
cation in a minor degree of the altruistic doctrines of 
Fourier and of Owen ; thus it is not surprising that 
some social students should still cling to the old 
system, however it may have become discredited by 
actual practice. It must, of course, be understood, 
that by " old " theory is meant a distribution in cash 
among the workers of a portion of the profits. 

good to be said in the light of experience for profit- 
sharing pure and simple. In the first place, it is 


financially unsound, for the workers are allowed to 
participate in profits, but are not called upon to con- 
tribute to losses. Thus their share becomes a dole, 
and it is clear that, pleasant as it may be, the game of 
" heads I win, tails you lose," is not healthy for the 
winner ; such a system is demoralizing to the worker, 
because his partnership is partial, so much so that he 
is a partner only in name, since, though he will thank- 
fully accept a gift, he does not run any risk. It is, of 
course, absurd to suggest that the worker could accept 
reciprocal partnership if it were offered ; as a rule, his 
only capital are his intelligence and his physical 
powers ; he has but small reserves of cash, so small 
as to nullify their value in businesses that rest on 
credit. Modified social conditions might make this 
intimate connection possible ; we are not, however, 
concerned now with eventual conditions (under which, 
by the way, it is conceivable that modern industry 
itself would be run on different lines), but with the 
present state of things. 

The worker cannot become a full partner because 
of his lack of capital ; but even if he were eligible, it 
would be folly for him to accept the position. As it 
is, he depends far too much on the prosperity of the 
undertaking that employs him. In an industrial crisis 
he is the first to suffer, for it brings at once short time, 
wage reductions, and dismissals. Capital can bear a 
crisis, for its reserves enable it to hold out until a 
glutted market has been cleared or credit re-estab- 
lished in the country ; the position of the worker, on 
the other hand, is that he must find employment under 
pain of starvation, and his task becomes all the harder 
when bad times set in. Under the circumstances, can 


any one seriously suggest that the worker should bind 
himself to participate in losses during the lean years, 
in losses which would speedily sweep away his savings, 
leaving him at last bereft not only of his employment 
in the face of a dwindling demand for labour, but of 
the small capital that would have enabled him to keep 
the wolf from the door until conditions had improved ? 
It does not do for a capitalist to place all his eggs in 
one basket ; it is an elementary principle of finance 
that a banker must re-insure himself by spreading his 
investments over several countries and various ven- 
tures, so as not to find his funds suddenly tied up 
when demands upon them fall due ; the worker must 
follow his example, and his precarious financial posi- 
tion must make him still more cautious than his 
employer. He must resolutely divorce his savings 
from his employment, so that the first may remain if 
the second fail him, and vice versd. 

Whether the worker be a full partner or not, there 
are yet graver objections to profit-sharing. As yet, 
partial partnership, i.e. participation in profits and not 
in losses, has alone been tried. A practical difficulty 
arises at once : how are the workers to determine what 
their participation should be if they are not allowed to 
know the amount of the total profits ? It is, of course, 
impossible to allow the mass of workers to inspect the 
books, for the door would then be opened to every 
form of commercial espionage, and, besides, in the 
majority of cases, the books of an important under- 
taking can be understood by none but a skilled 
accountant. Thus, as regards divisible profit, the 
workers must take the masters' word and, as it is un- 
fortunately too true that most men consider another's 


gain as their own loss, there is always reasonable 
ground for suspicion. The worker is inclined to think 
that his employer's object is to extract from him a 
maximum of work in exchange for a minimum of pay, 
and more often than not he is right ; even a profit- 
sharing scheme does not do away with his suspicions, 
for he has learned by bitter experience that benevo- 
lence may be utilized for the mercenary purposes of 
his taskmaster. 

Profit-sharing thus stultifies itself. Instead of 
fostering good feeling and co-operation between 
employer and employee, it tends to destroy any 
bond of kindliness that may already exist, by sowing 
the seeds of distrust. These seeds once sown, the 
advantages of profit-sharing vanish ; the object of 
its introduction can only be an improvement in the 
quality and the quantity of the work produced, neither 
of which results is likely to follow when the worker 
labours under either a real, or a mistaken, sense of 
injury. In fact, it is directly conducive to trade 
disputes, given that the latter are as often traceable to 
mental as to material causes. 4*^, 

In limited companies, where the accounts are 
published and audited by qualified accountants, this 
particular difficulty in great part vanishes, but even 
if we set it aside in these cases (which leaves private 
firms where they were) further difficulties at once 

Profits are variable quantities and are largely 
influenced by the more or less conservative policy of 
the managers ; should the latter see fit, for instance, 
to set aside a large sum for the purpose of creating 
a reserve, profits may for some years be reduced to a 


low figure, in fact, to vanishing point. This is often 
a wise precaution from the capitalist's point of view, 
and he can afford to take it, as he does not depend 
entirely on the profits of a single undertaking ; he 
knows, moreover, that he will eventually reap en- 
hanced benefits from prudent administration. But 
meanwhile, what of the worker ? His employment 
is not secured him ; he may have been for many 
years a faithful servant of the undertaking and find 
his services dispensed with at a week's notice. Thus 
his interest is to receive at once as great a propor- 
tion of the profits as possible ; in fact, his interest is 
antagonistic to that of his employer, so that again 
more scope is given for dissension which inevitably 
reacts on the quality of the work. 

found the employer and the employee in conflict as 
regards matters of prudence, we now find them in 
conflict as regards enterprise. A growing business 
requires working capital, and it is not always possible 
or desirable to raise this by loan, or to create new 
shares ; under such circumstances it is natural to use 
a portion of the profits for the purpose of, say, increas- 
ing the plant, establishing foreign agencies, etc. This 
is almost certain to happen in a rapidly growing 
business, and valuable opportunities of expansion 
may be wasted if they are not at once seized ; this 
the enterprising capitalist will of course do, given his 
favourable position as regards the deferring of profits, 
but once more his interests are in direct conflict with 
those of the workers, for the same reasons as those 
given above with reference to measures of prudence. 
It may be said, on the whole, that any deflection of 


profits must be distasteful to the wage-earner, and that 
there exists no more efficacious means of creating 
difficulties between Capital and Labour. Apart, 
however, from these potential causes of disunion, a 
profit-sharing system of this elementary type, even 
if it works perfectly smoothly and yields satisfactory 
returns both to employer and employee, is still open 
to grave objections ; if the profit-sharing consists of 
yearly or half-yearly doles it may seem perfectly 
successful and yet do the worker a great deal of harm. 
Profits are essentially varying quantities, and in most 
businesses they rise for a given number of years, 
attain a maximum, and then for some years decline, 
after which they again begin to rise. Apart from 
businesses in which profits increase slowly but regularly 
and without set-backs, the net yield of undertakings 
fluctuates according to the conditions of trade in the 
country ; our system of production makes for a regular 
succession of gluts and shortages, which result in 
crises during which profits vary to a considerable 
extent : this is one of its most notable weaknesses 
and forms a serious count in the Socialist indictment. 
If, therefore, a fixed fraction of these profits is set aside 
for the workers, their annual bonus will fluctuate ; if 
the worker were to look upon this bonus as an 
addition to capital this fluctuation, apart from the 
discontent it would create, would not matter very 
much, but it is notorious that he looks upon it as 
income and spends it in the same way as his wages. 
Thus, fluctuating bonuses mean, in reality, fluctuating 
wages, and I do not suppose that any one will consider 
this a healthy condition of affairs. During the good 
years the worker acquires habits of extravagance ; 


the more slowly profits increase, the greater is the 
harm done ; if a man receives, say, $ in one year, and 
10 the next, he will perhaps set aside a portion of 
the increase ; but if he receives $ the first year, 6 
the next, 7 for the third, and so on, he will feel the 
increases so little that he will spend his bonuses with- 
out a thought. Having acquired these habits, and 
increased his expenditure by, say, 10 per cent.,* he 
experiences considerable discomfort when the bad 
years that must inevitably follow begin to make 
themselves felt, and if he has made a practice of 
using his bonus for his pleasures, he may feel the 
pressure more acutely than if the necessaries of life 
were menaced. 

Generally speaking, large yearly or half-yearly doles 
make for drunkenness and extravagance, and very 
rarely for thrift ; other systems partaking of the same 
nature are often successful, but for profit-sharing pure 
and simple little good can be said. The truth of the 
statement is demonstrated by the history of the 
system : the facts that follow show it to have hitherto 
been a failure. Profit-sharing was originally intro- 
duced into this country by Lord Wallscourt, about 
1830, on a hundred-acre farm; he expressed himself 
satisfied, but it is suggestive to note that all he con- 
gratulated himself upon was being able to leave his 
farm safely for a year at a time.t His scheme appears 
to have resulted in his running his farm without much 
trouble ; whether it paid is another question, and the 

* This is not an abnormal figure in profit-sharing schemes, 
t Report by D. F. Schloss, to the Board of Trade, on profit-sharing 



system certainly did not survive him. Lord Walls- 
court's experiment yields in interest to the first im- 
portant venture of this nature, that of Mr. Leclaire, in 
Paris, in 1842. The history of Leclaire is well known, 
and he well deserves the title of "father" of profit- 
sharing, even though he may have been forestalled 
by Lord Wallscourt, and by the economist Babbage in 
1833. Leclaire organized his house-painting and 
.decorating business on a profit-sharing basis, and ran 
it successfully for thirty-two years, during which the 
participation of his employees increased considerably ; 
after his death, however, the policy of the undertaking 
(which was then placed on a basis of equal shares to 
workers and to capital) was altered, and profits were 
inflated apparently to the detriment of the turnover ; 
thus, ten years after the death of Leclaire, the workers 
were receiving nearly three times as large a bonus as 
during the last year of his life, after which the business 

The Leclaire experiment was, to my mind, the 
triumph of an able and masterful business man, who 
would have succeeded under any circumstances; his 
character, which was remarkable for energy and 
initiative, fitted him for the position of leader, but 
without him, as is too often the case in social schemes, 
the undertaking could no longer hold its own. In 
order, however, not to lay too much stress upon a 
single experiment, it is useful to quote some facts which 
are vouched for by the Eleventh Abstract of Labour 
Statistics of the United Kingdom, issued in 1907. 
We find in this publication that in this country, up to 
the middle of 1906, 196 firms had initiated profit- 
sharing schemes, so that we have here an adequate 


basis for study, comprising, as it does, nearly 200 firms, 
by which are affected about 150,000 workers, and 
extending over some 77 years (1829-1906). 

On the 30th of June, 1906, out of these 196 firms, 
no fewer than 122 had abandoned the system, and 14 
yielded no particulars, leaving 60 in which profit- 
sharing was known to exist. Therefore, two out of 
three schemes, roughly speaking, had failed for various 
reasons ; these 60 firms employed 47,317 workers, and 
it is at once apparent that profit-sharing cannot have 
demonstrated its commercial value, if, after 77 years 
of experiment, less than 50,000 workers were affected 
by it. Over half the employees were in engineering 
and ship-building yards, where a modicum of success 
would seem to have been attained, if we did not at the 
same time note that, by the middle of 1906, out of 18 
schemes which had been established in this class of 
undertaking, 12 had failed. 

It must not be thought that the bonuses were 
small ; the Labour Abstract states that (in 1905) the 
mean bonus in all cases was 5^ per cent., and that 
the average bonus in those firms where one was 
actually paid was over 7 per cent, of the wages. Yet 
122 firms out of 196 had abandoned the system, 
and it behoves us to inquire into the reasons. In 3 1 
cases we find that the employers were dissatisfied with 
results, which shows that profit-sharing is not such 
" good business " as its strenuous advocates make out ; 
in 20 cases, losses showed still more clearly that profit- 
sharing was not commercial, and in 26 cases the 
undertaking was dissolved, liquidated, or found its 
profits reduced. Thus, altogether, in 77 cases out of 
122, the employer found that it was not to his 



advantage to continue the system ; in 1 3 cases, on the 
other hand, the employees became dissatisfied or 
remained apathetic ; the remaining 32 cases cannot be 
traced precisely to discontent on either side. On the 
whole, therefore, the employer had more reason to 
complain than the employee, but this is immaterial, 
for profit-sharing could justify itself in our present 
economic system only by enhancing the profits of 
both parties. This, except in a few cases, it has 
clearly not done. 

upon this subject, not only because attacks were made 
on these views, which I expressed in another volume,* 
but chiefly because the failure of profit-sharing pure 
and simple leads up to the alternative known as 
"prosperity-sharing." I do not know that this 
system is in vogue anywhere except in Port Sunlight, 
and it cannot be denied that there it works extremely 
well. In a limited sense it is profit-sharing, for a 
portion of the profits of the business is set aside for its 
purposes, but in a limited sense only. The financial 
basis of the scheme is fully set forth in another 
chapter, and for the present it is enough to say that 
the workers' share, instead of being paid out to them 
individually, is looked upon as being earned collectively, 
and becomes the property of the community. Instead 
of declaring that a certain proportion of his wages 
shall be paid to each worker in cash, over and above 
the agreed rate, the total wages earned are looked 
upon as a single whole, and the claim of the workers 
upon the profits is satisfied by a lump sum ; this 
amount is used for the purpose of keeping up the 

* " Engines of Social Progress" (1907). 


Village and its institutions, as will be shown further 
on, when we come to deal with the finances of Port 

Instead, therefore, of the worker being subjected 
to the demoralizing influence of irregular bonuses, he 
is given the opportunity of occupying a good house at 
a low rate in pleasant surroundings, and of taking 
part in an elevating communal life. The scheme is 
not without its shortcomings, particularly as regards 
those who cannot be accommodated in the Village, 
and who thus receive no benefit ; also in the case of 
those who, being thrifty, require no protection against 
themselves, and would gladly receive a cash bonus 
instead of benefiting by ideal surroundings. Since, 
however, so little that is good can be said for profit- 
sharing pure and simple, and seeing that health, 
morality, and education are left practically untouched 
by more elaborate systems, such as that of the South 
Metropolitan Gas Company, it may reasonably be 
said that there is a prima facie case for Port Sun- 
light. The object, therefore, of the following chapters 
is to show how this "prosperity-sharing" scheme is 
administered, how it affects the worker, his wife, and 
his child, and how it compares in both these respects 
with schemes which are of the same nature, but are 
conducted on different lines. 



POTENT as may be the influence of ideal housing, 
much of the work attempted in that direction would 
be sterile if the factory were not at the same time 
brought up to a high level of cleanliness, order, and 
safety. Even if the worker were well housed he 
would not easily shake off the effects of a long day's 
work in insanitary premises ; indeed, it is not certain 
that ideal conditions are not more important in the 
factory than in the home. Industrial labour, in these 
days of machinery, is not, as a rule, so intellectual as 
to demand concentration upon the task ; at any rate, 
it leaves time for the formation of impression a 
process ever at work for good or evil. Thus it is 
important, not only that the worker's life and limbs 
should be protected, and that the workshop should 
satisfy a benign factory inspector, but that it should 
be spacious, well ventilated, and, as far as possible, 

The influence of the factory on the home is com- 
parable with the influence of the master on the man ; 
few will deny that a just and courageous employer can 
do much by force of example to lead his men into the 
paths of morality and rectitude : is it not likely, then, 


that continuous and conscious effort in the direction of 
cleanliness and simplicity will impel the worker to 
imitation in his home ? The influence of beauty is 
subtle ; at Port Sunlight there is enough evidence 
of fair dealing to justify a belief, by analogy, that, in 
the long run, beauty also will make its presence felt. 
Imitation is so normal a phenomenon and lies at the 
root of so many changes for the better, or the worse, 
that example cannot be overrated as regards the 
planning and the government of a factory. 

It is certain that the grimy, unhealthy works, with 
which we are too familiar, react unfavourably upon 
the employees ; it is, at any rate, singular that the 
latter are too often equally grimy and unhealthy, 
whereas from the gates of Port Sunlight emerges a 
crowd of cheerful and cleanly workers. A subtle 
sense of fitness pervades the atmosphere ; where the 
workshops are foul and evil smelling, natural careless- 
ness asserts itself, and we find the workers slatternly 
in body and slothful in mind ; conversely, where con- 
ditions are good, men and women are encouraged or 
shamed by their surroundings, and unconsciously raise 
their tone to the prevailing level of cleanliness and 

It is interesting to note, in this connection, evidence 
collected on the spot ; soapworks are notoriously un- 
savoury places, and their existence is usually suspected 
by the visitor for some time before he sees them. 
This is not the case at Port Sunlight, as any one who 
has lived there can testify ; indeed, the obnoxious 
part of the process seems to be confined to a single 
room, and even there it is not beyond endurance. 
Cleanliness is the secret, and I was told by foremen 


who had been employed in other works that this 
seemed to influence in a remarkable manner the spirit 
of the worker, who was not only more diligent and 
generally efficient, but more cheerful and open in 
mind. This is a solid asset, both financial and moral ; 
but it does not come as a surprise upon the visitor 
when once he has been over the Works. 

aspects, the Port Sunlight Works are an industrial 
monument ; the very fact that they extend over some 
ninety acres would be enough to justify such a state- 
ment ; but there are many features that distinguish 
them from the ordinary factory. The first and general 
impression is, of course, one of size, and the visitor, 
hurrying from workshop to wharf, from office to 
railway siding, is bewildered by the variety and the 
complexity of the processes, by the innumerable 
ramifications of a business that involves no less than 
seventy trades. By degrees, however, he realizes how 
definite is the plan of operations, and how methodi- 
cally the Works themselves have been organized for 
efficient operating ; from the apparent chaos of in- 
dustrialism emerges the understanding of the system ; 
but wonder does not decrease with familiarity. Be 
that as it may, the first thing that strikes the social 
student is the fact that the Works have, as far as 
possible, been separated from the Village. They 
occupy the southern corner of the estate, which is also 
one of its lowest points, and interpose a severe, but not 
inharmonious, structure between the houses and the 
dock ; this is an important feature, both sanitary and 
aesthetic. Space has not been spared, for roads vary- 
ing in width between forty and one hundred and 


twenty feet separate the various blocks, so that air 
and light can penetrate freely on all sides. Thus, not 
only does the Factory not poison the district, but it 
also fosters good work and good spirits. 

It would be too much to say that the Works are a 
thing of beauty. The factory that is an ornament to 
the neighbourhood has yet to be built by some dis- 
ciple of William Morris ; but there is in the Port 
Sunlight Works a severe solidity which is not un- 
pleasing to the eye. From this i particular point of 
view the offices are perhaps more interesting than the 
Works, owing partly to their being faced with white 
stone and surmounted by a colonnade, but more 
especially because they are single storied and lighted 
by enormous windows not less than ten feet high. 
This worship of sunshine (I had almost said sunlight) 
is characteristic of every building in the Village, and 
the impression is strengthened when we enter the offices 
and find that the entire roof is glazed. These are 
remarkable workrooms, for their height varies between 
twenty-five and thirty feet an unusual feature, as visits 
to most city offices will demonstrate. The interior is 
superior to the exterior owing to the long graceful 
lines of the building ; moreover, some care has been 
expended in making these offices pleasant. The 
floors are mosaic, the walls white or distempered a 
soft shade of green ; near the roof are placed at 
intervals groups of flags of all nations, the effect of 
which is certainly pleasing. These form practically 
the only decoration ; I do not know whether the 
organizers aimed at simplicity ; if not, an opportunity 
is perhaps being wasted. The value of pictures and 
flowers is well known, and the broad expanse of wall 


could probably be made use of to good effect, as has 
been done in other factories. 

The same applies to the exterior, where little 
gardens have been laid out and might well be ex- 
tended, for here again there are great opportunities, 
as has been shown in many American and a few 
British factories. The Clements Manufacturing Com- 
pany, in Massachusetts, for instance, has trained 
creepers to cover entirely the sides and roofs of its 
coalsheds ; the Cadbury Works at Bournville are 
entered through a small park ; Le Creusot, in central 
France, is practically " a factory in a garden." How- 
ever, though further use might be made of much of 
the space between the blocks at Port Sunlight Works, 
it would be unfair to cavil at the efforts that have 
certainly been made towards decoration. 

These remarks apply to the workshops as well as 
to the offices, for they also are almost invariably 
single storied, lofty, and well lighted ; the floors are 
wood blocks, a fact which may appear unimportant 
to those who have not to stand on a cold floor for 
eight hours a day, winter and summer. These floors 
are cleaned weekly and, in some departments, daily ; 
they are all, at any rate, swept and swabbed every 
day ; it is lamentable to think that the state of our 
factories is still such as to make this worth mention- 
ing. It is neither desirable nor possible here to 
describe in detail all the departments sorting, pan- 
room, refinery, laboratory, box-making, glueing, pack- 
ing, printing, ink-grinding, etc. ; an adequate idea of 
the processes can only be gained by a personal in- 
spection, an inspection, by the way, which is facilitated 
by the fact that galleries run round departments, some 


seven or eight feet above the floor; these galleries 
have, I believe, been built especially for visitors. 

VATION. Apart from the processes themselves, one 
of the striking features of Port Sunlight is the care 
that has been expended in promoting the well-being 
of the employees and ensuring their immunity from 
accident. The excellent rule of medical examination 
is extensively applied, and too much can hardly be 
said on this subject. It is highly desirable that this 
examination should be made compulsory by law, for 
there are a certain number among the men, and a still 
larger proportion among the women and girls, who 
are too weakly in constitution to endure certain classes 
of work ; we need a considerable increase in our staff 
of factory inspectors,* but we also require a new class, 
the medical factory inspectors, whose province it would 
be to certify not the premises, but the workers ; such 
an inspection should, of course, be combined with 
facilities for treatment if necessary, coupled with main- 
tenance, which should not be considered as outdoor 
relief. In the present state of things, however, an 
employer is free to engage whomsoever he chooses, 
for any purpose he chooses, without being compelled 
to consider whether this engagement is not the 
worker's death-warrant, or, a still more serious matter, 
whether his association with his fellows may not be 
fraught for them with grave dangers of infection ; 

* Mr. L. G. Chiozza Money, in "Riches and Poverty," shows that 
"each inspector has to deal, on an average, with one thousand six 
hundred and seventy-seven workplaces," so that each of these cannot 
reasonably be inspected more often than once every two and a-half 
years ! (The calculation is mine. W. L. G.) 


consumption is a case in point, for it is slow in growth, 
and not easily detected. Messrs. Lever Brothers have, 
however, provided as far as possible against these con- 
tingencies. Every one of their employees is medically 
examined within one month of engagement, when an 
opportunity is afforded to weed out those whose 
presence might prove dangerous. This examination 
is not repeated, which is perhaps unfortunate, as a 
half-yearly test would not be a lengthy operation if 
conducted on the same lines as the examination of 

An exception is made in favour of those who are 
employed in departments where metallic paints are 
handled or where powders are used, as in ink-grinding 
workshops and in those where minerals are pulver- 
ized ; men employed in these workshops are examined 
once a month. 

Medical examination having secured for the Works 
a body of workers all in good health, to ensure their 
remaining so elaborate precautions are taken. The 
loftiness of the workshops tends to make them cold, 
which is counteracted by a system of warming by hot air. 
It is worth noting that the Plenum system is every- 
where in force, as it is the only means of satisfactorily 
controlling the inflow. Ventilation is therefore per- 
fectly easy, and is regulated by fans varying in power 
with the requirements of the departments. The all- 
important problem of ventilation and air space has 
been completely solved at Port Sunlight, and it is 
significant that the factory inspectors have never 
registered even an insignificant complaint against the 
conditions. This will cause no surprise when we 
compare them with the legal minimum. 

The Factory Act, 1901, enacts as follows : 

"Part I. Section III. A factory shall for the purposes 
of this Act, and a workshop shall for the purposes of the law 
relating to public health be deemed to be so overcrowded 
as to be dangerous or injurious to the health of the persons 
employed therein, if the number of cubic feet of space in 
any room therein bears to the number of persons employed 
at one time in the room a proportion less than two 
hundred and fifty, or, during any period of overtime, four 
hundred cubic feet of space to every person." 

It will be realized how fully the Port Sunlight 
Works satisfy these very moderate provisions when it 
is known that this minimum is exceeded never by less 
than fifteen times and in certain parts as much as 
twenty. This highly important fact is established by 
the sampling of the air in the workshops, which has 
been effected from time to time ; carbon monoxide, 
the most dangerous of industrial by-products, does not 
exist even as a trace ; carbon dioxide, the natural 
product of the human breathing process, a non-toxic 
but inert gas, does not average more than half the 
maximum allowed by the Home Orifice regulations. 
All this tends to prove that the air is as chemically 
pure as can be desired and no medical man or 
enlightened factory owner will deny that this must 
react very favourably upon the quality of the work, 
for there is no disputing the fact that air heavily laden 
with even inert gases tends to dull the faculties of the 
worker and to stupefy his reasoning powers. Apart, 
therefore, from humanitarian motives, there is no 
doubt that the policy pursued at Port Sunlight in this 
connection has been productive of valuable results. 


Minor precautions have, moreover, been taken to 
ensure the comfort of the workers. In the cardboard- 
box room, for instance, a good deal of vegetable dust 
is created ; this is not dangerous, but the employees, 
who are all girls, have been provided with white 
canvas hoods which enable them to keep their hair 
clean ; a small matter no doubt, but interesting as an 
evidence of kindly forethought. Provisions of a 
similar nature, but which do not come strictly within 
the category of safety measures, are set forth in the 
next chapter. 

measures are, however, those which are designed to 
protect the workers against the influence of dust ; it is 
notorious that even non-poisonous substances, such as 
coal, stone, metals, etc., have, when in the form of fine 
dust, the most serious effects upon the respiratory 
organs, and upon all mucous tissue in general ; for 
instance, miner's phthisis, so common in stone and 
metal mines, has not yet been completely rooted out 
by the spray and the respirator. The difficulties with 
which the Port Sunlight management has to contend 
are, as regards these particular diseases, comparatively 
small, for the only workshops in need of protection 
against them are those in which ink is ground, wood 
sawn, and mineral powder handled. In all these 
departments the employees have been supplied with 
respirators, but it is interesting to note that the men 
passively resist the introduction. I did not see a 
single respirator in use ; this is a common occurrence, 
especially in mines, where the floors are often found 
littered with these preventives after the gangs have 
come up. This is comprehensible, for hard work is 


rendered far harder if anything impedes the worker's 

Far more efficacious means than respirators are in 
use at Port Sunlight. In the wood-box room, for 
instance, powerful fans draw off the sawdust so com- 
pletely that one can hardly believe that one is in a 
carpentry workshop, for one misses the familiar litter 
of sawdust and shavings ; the velocity of the fans is 
low, so as to avoid draughts, but their volume is very 
large. Some idea of the amount of work done by 
them can be gained from a visit to the metal cylinder, 
nine feet long and seven feet in diameter, which is to 
be seen just outside the workshop ; the exhausts 
communicate with this cylinder and, in spite of its 
enormous capacity, often fill it in one or two days with 
as much sawdust as would cover the floor of the 
workshop a foot deep if not extracted. 

Similar methods are used in the ink-grinding and 
mineral-powder room, where, owing to the more 
dangerous influence of the dust, they are needed to a 
greater degree. There, over every grinding-table or 
powder-pan, an inverted funnel is fixed, the broad 
opening not being more than fifteen to eighteen inches 
from the material. The velocity of the fans is here 
much greater, the draught being strong enough to 
draw in a sheet of cardboard ; as a result, hardly a 
speck of powder can be seen floating in the air in a 
portion of the workshop where some dozen of these 
implements are at work. 

Owing to the fact that machinery is employed in 
every department, from boiler-room to packing-room, 
accidents are more likely of occurrence than industrial 
disease ; they have, however, been reduced to a 


minimum. In the pan room, for instance, not only has 
every pan been surrounded by a bulwark some three 
and three-quarters feet high, but, to avoid any danger 
of an overflow, the introduction of steam into the boiling 
substance is regulated by three separate injectors, which 
allows of the shutting off of one-third of the steam or, 
if required, of two-thirds, or even the whole. The 
machinery is screened, not only in conformity with, 
but in excess of, official requirements. Much of it is 
railed in by wood panelling some four feet high ; 
indeed, there is reason to think that in some cases 
convenience of handling has been sacrificed to safety, 
and that a man injured by the machinery must have 
been negligent. Screening is in fact a feature of the 
plant, and it is regrettable that similar standards are 
not yet imposed by law. Apart from these measures, 
however, steps have been taken to make the machinery 
fool-proof by the profuse application of posters. These 
do not only tell the employee how to use the 
machinery, but they forbid cleaning and oiling whilst 
it is in motion, and, under certain conditions prohibit 
the use of it altogether. Special apparatus is provided 
in some cases ; I was able to note a tin-stamping 
machine to which a simply worded caution is affixed, 
giving directions as to method of use and instructing 
the worker to unclog it, in case of need, not with his 
hands but with a special brass pricker which is chained 
to the machine. Nevertheless, a female employee 
was wounded by this machine some months ago owing 
to her having disregarded instructions and having 
attempted to regulate it by hand instead of using the 
pricker ; this tends to show that no precautions can 
cope with stupidity and, therefore, how important it is 


that the stupid should be protected against them- 
selves. So far has this protection gone that a subway 
has been built to obviate the necessity of the 
employees crossing the railway lines. 

There exists at Port Sunlight a particularly inter- 
esting institution, the Personal Accident Inquiries 
Committees, the object of which is to reduce mis- 
adventure still further. It is clear that every accident 
reads a lesson ; indeed, it is painful to think that 
almost every improvement in industrial conditions is 
traceable either to an intolerable state of things or to 
a serious accident. It is, however, important that the 
lesson should be learned at a minimum cost of life 
and suffering, and it is for this purpose that these 
committees have been created ; as they are somewhat 
unusual, and yet so fertile in possibilities, the rules are 
here reproduced in extenso 


1. With the object of further minimizing the number of 
preventable accidents in the Factory, the undermentioned 
Committees will be constituted. 

2. The principal duties of each Committee shall be 
(a) To promptly and fully inquire into and report to 

the Company upon any personal accident happen- 
ing in the division represented by the Committee, 
which prevents the injured person from following 
his or her usual occupation for at least three 
working days after the accident, and the cause 
of same, and to make recommendations so as, 
if possible, to prevent the repetition of such 
accidents. The Committee shall have power to 


visit the site, make full inspection, hear witnesses, 
and generally investigate all the circumstances 
connected with the accident. 

(b) When specially requested by the Company to 
do so, to recommend the compensation (if any) 
to be offered to any injured person or persons. 
It is not hereby sought to bind such person or 
persons to accept such compensation. 

(e) To nominate quarterly two members of the Com- 
mittee who, along with the Divisional Manager 
and a Foreman nominated by the Company, 
shall make periodical inspection of the Division, 
point out defects (if any), and make recommen- 
dations calculated to prevent accidents of any 

(d) To have proper minutes kept of the proceedings 
at every inquiry and meeting of the Committee. 

3. A meeting of the Committee shall also be convened, 
whether or not a personal accident has happened, whenever 
required by the Company, or whenever, in the opinion 
of at least three members of the Committee, any cir- 
cumstances have arisen which render a meeting of the 
Committee desirable. 

4. Committees, as follow, will be formed to represent 
the following divisions of the Factory, respectively, viz. : 

Number of Number of 

Employee Employee 

Representatives Representatives 



No. l Pan Room . . . . 2 Timber Sheds . . 
No. 2 Pan Room . . . . I No. i Box Room 
Lye S Rooms(Nos.i&2) .. I J \ ^ 

Cleansers (Nos. I & 2) .. I No. 2 Frame,, 

No, I Stamping Room 


Number of 





No. i Stamping Room . . 2 
No. 2 Stamping Room . . 2 

Melting Out and Mixing 
Glycerine Recovery 
Glycerine Refinery 

Alkali No. I 

Alkali Nos. 2 and 3 . . 
Cotton Seed Mill 


Woodbox Making .. .. I 

Toilet Making 2 

Dry Soap and Ski Making . . i 
Monkey Brand and Vim Making i 


Toilet Packing . . . . i 

Lux Packing 2 

Monkey Brand, Vim, Ski, and 
Dry Soap Packing . . i 



Printing Tradesmen 
Printing Labourers 
Compositors . . 
Electro and Stereo 

Tinbox and Printing 
Paper Warehouse 

Number of 





Folding Cardbox 

Rigid Cardbox 



Picture Framing 




Boilermen and Enginemen . . 






Wharf .. 
Yard and Carters 


Flat Captains . . 
Mates . . 


5. Each Committee will consist of the Divisional Manager 
and the Foreman in the division (being Company nominees) 
and /or other nominees of the Company, and an equal 
number of male Employees (being Employee nominees) 
with not less than two years' continuous service, elected 
from amongst themselves by the male Employees in the 
division. Any person with less than three months' con- 
tinuous service shall not be entitled to vote on such election. 
The proportion which the number of Employee nominees 
from one department of a division shall bear to the total 
number of Employee nominees for that division shall, from 
time to time, be fixed by the Company. For the purpose 
of regulating any Committee under this rule, the Company 
may at any time require one or more members of the 
Committee to resign his office as such member. The 
member or members so to resign to be decided by ballot. 

6. A Committee shall also be formed for each division 
in which females are employed, and all the provisions of 
these Rules shall apply to such Committee, subject to the 
following variations : 

(a) The Committee shall consist of the Divisional Man- 

ager and the Forewoman or Overlookers in 
the Division (being Company nominees) and/or 
other nominees of the Company and an equal 
number of female Employees (being Employee 
nominees) with not less than two years' continu- 
ous service, elected from amongst themselves by 
the female Employees in the Division. 

(b) Where necessary, words importing the masculine 

gender shall be read as importing the feminine 

7. The Divisional Manager shall act as convener of 
inquiries and meetings, or, in his absence, such other person 
as may be nominated by the Company. 


8. At least four members of the Committee shall form a 
quorum for any inquiry or meeting, two of whom must be 
Company nominees and two Employee nominees. 

9. Each inquiry and meeting will be presided over 
by the Divisional Manager, unless the General Works 
Manager, or some other person nominated by the Company 
for such purpose, shall elect to preside. 

10. Each member of Committee shall have one vote on 
every resolution. The Divisional Manager, when presiding, 
shall have a casting vote. 

11. The Committee may require any member (except 
the Divisional Manager) who, in their opinion, may be 
directly concerned in or affected by any inquiry or proceed- 
ings, to abstain from voting on any resolution thereat. 

12. The Company may nominate any person or persons, 
not being a member or members of the Committee, to be 
present and take part in the proceedings at any inquiry or 
meeting, but he or they shall not vote thereat. 

13. Inquiries and meetings may be held alternately in 
the Company's and the members' own time. 

14. No member of any Committee shall be entitled to 
claim any payment or remuneration for any services ren- 
dered or work done by him as such member. 

15. The Company may, at any time, at its discretion, 
alter, vary, or annul these rules or disband all or any of the 
Committees, and its decision as to any matter or question 
arising as to the construction, interpretation, or spirit of 
these rules shall be final. 

The working of this institution will be understood 
from the rules, and it is unnecessary to enlarge upon 
the value of the services which it renders. Two points 
only need be emphasized ; one is the fact that sixty 
employees are thereby given a direct interest in the 
internal government of the factory a very desirable 


result, which must contribute to increase the social 
value of both electors and elect ; the other is the fact 
that the administration is thoroughly democratic, as is 
shown by the stress laid in Rules 5, 6, and 8 on the 
equality of the voting power of masters and men. It 
should be added that there has certainly been a 
considerable decrease in the accident rate ; findings 
are posted in the department in which the casualty 
took place and all the managers are notified ; 
this adequate publicity has been fully justified by 

THE AMBULANCE CORPS. However minute pre- 
cautions may be, accidents must and do happen ; it is 
therefore interesting to say a few words about the 
Port Sunlight Ambulance Corps and Surgeries. Every 
section of the Works is provided with a surgery, where 
patients are attended to by the ambulance corps 
until the doctor has arrived. The corps itself 
consists of twenty men and several women, all of 
whom are employees ; they must hold a St. John's 
Association certificate, and are re-examined every 
year. Members wear a badge while on duty, and they 
are rendered available at all times by means of 
placards fixed in every department giving their names 
and stating where they are to be found. These men 
receive one shilling per week over and above their 
wages and one shilling per drill, which takes place 
monthly. They are under the general control of the 
Village medical officer and, while at their ordinary 
work, of the Works manager. It should be added 
that, in the Village itself, there is a branch of the St. 
John's Association, of which most of the Works 
ambulance corps are members ; it numbers altogether 


about forty men, most of whom are available in the 
Works when required. 

FIRE PREVENTION. It only now remains to refer 
to the precautions that have been taken against fire. 
They are very minute, which would seem superfluous 
in view of the fact that the Works are built of brick 
and steel, but the stores of wood and fats are a source 
of danger against which provision must be made. It 
should be said that, even should an outbreak of fire 
take place, it appears impossible that lives could be 
lost, thanks to the numerous exits. The buildings are 
certainly well protected in the first instance : where 
there are two storeys fireproof floors have been fitted ; 
double doors, also fireproof, separate the departments ; 
the Works are surrounded and intersected by fresh 
water mains. So far there is every reasonable security, 
but more ample provision against fire has been made. 
Every department is provided with automatic fire 
alarms and with automatic sprinklers in the roof at 
every ten feet. These sprinklers are fed by tanks 
containing four to five hundred thousand gallons, over 
and above the supply from the mains ; all the valves 
are tested once a week by the fire superintendent. 
In addition, all departments are provided with 
chemical extinguishers and hand pumps, and rows of 
sand buckets can be seen in readiness near the fat 
stores. As regards the closed timber stores, it is 
interesting to note that these are so arranged as to 
allow of each being hermetically sealed in the event of 
a conflagration ; thus the fire would in a few minutes 
be stifled for want of air. The fire brigade consists 
of six men, including the superintendent, who are 
permanently employed in this capacity and receive an 


additional shilling per weekly drill ; sixteen men are 
drawn from the Works and are trained on the same 
lines and receive the same pay, so that the brigade 
numbers twenty-two men. A valuable innovation has 
been the introduction of a bonus system, producing 
about two shillings per week for each man, which is 
payable in the event of there having been no greater 
loss by fire during each half-year than altogether 50. 
As a result the brigade is exceedingly watchful, and 
many incipient fires, instead of remaining unobserved 
for a few precious minutes, are dealt with at once. 
So efficacious has this system been that, during the 
last six years, no bonus has been lost, i.e. six years' 
work has resulted in less than 300 damages by fire 
a notable record. 

It will be seen from the above that every con- 
ceivable device has been resorted to to ensure the 
safety of both workers and Works. I would repeat 
that it is not within the scope of this book to study 
the Works themselves and the processes of manu- 
facture, but this somewhat lengthy analysis of safety 
measures, in so far as they affect the social aspects of 
the Village, is undoubtedly essential. From the point 
of view of working conditions, an important chapter 
is the next, where the internal regime of the Factory 
is passed under review, and also the position of the 
employees as regards nature and hours of labour, 
remuneration, and personal treatment. 



IMPROVED safety appliances and modern hygienic 
methods naturally make for an improvement in the 
quality of work done, as well as in the health and 
spirits of the workers, but, beyond this, it is of import- 
ance that these should enter into good relations with 
their employers, and so, in business as in other fields, 
be enabled to realize .their manhood. A fair, if firm, 
rule forms a sound basis for this good understanding ; 
it is well that a man should have to give of his best 
while at work, provided that he be justly treated, that 
his hours be not over long, and that he find within easy 
reach opportunities for relaxation and amusement. 

A visit to the Port Sunlight Works certainly shows 
that no time is wasted ; the casual observer cannot 
conceive of greater activity or expedition, but relations 
between the workers and their foremen appear to be 
good, and there is in most of the workshops an 
atmosphere of good temper and good-will. There is 
no loitering, partly, no doubt, owing to the military 
precision of the Factory, partly owing to the zest with 
which the employees go to work. Rules are evidently 
not allowed to fall into abeyance ; for instance, tobacco 
chewing is forbidden ; if, after a warning, the offence 


is repeated the offender is dismissed. As a result 
the floors are everywhere clean and the general 
hygiene of the Factory is much improved. This will 
serve to show that even trifles are not overlooked. 
The firmness of the rule is, however, coupled with 
the effort that is made to develop the individuality 
of the men, as exemplified by the Accident Committee 
(Chapter II.). 

THE SUGGESTION Box. Another interesting 
example is the Suggestion Box, placed in every 
department. The object of this institution is, on the 
one hand, to reap for the Works the benefit of 
the men's powers of observation and invention, on 
the other to interest them in their work and thus to 
develop their brains. Any employee who sees a way 
of improving the output, simplifying some process, 
minimizing the possibility of accidents, or by some 
means improving working conditions, can make out 
his suggestion on a desk specially provided in his 
department and deposit it in the Suggestion Box. 
The keys are in the hands of the Suggestion Bureau ; 
each division of the Works has its committee, which 
includes foremen and the divisional manager. These 
committees delegate each its chairman to the Sug- 
gestion Council, which is presided over by the general 
manager. The boxes are opened periodically, when 
the suggestions are dealt with by the committee 
whose work they affect ; this committee has power 
to reject them or, if they appear valuable, to send 
them up to the council for further consideration. 
Should the council consider them worth taking up 
they are sent to the Management. Important sugges- 
tions go to the Board. The best of these ideas 


are rewarded with prizes, varying in value between 
$s. and 20 ; adopted suggestions are always paid 
for, and if it were worth while to patent any one of 
them the employee would receive the royalties. The 
results of the system have been excellent ; sugges- 
tions are every year made by the hundred, and a 
certain number are useful. Apart from the training 
thus given to the workers, in certain cases important 
results have followed. I was shown, for instance, a 
machine where the operator was formerly very liable 
to have her ringer tips caught ; indeed accidents often 
happened : as a result of an employee's suggestion a 
movable top was introduced, an exceedingly ingenious 
contrivance which lifts the operator's hand out of 
danger and makes an accident impossible. For this 
device the employee received a substantial cash prize 
and a patent was taken out in his name ; he now 
receives a royalty on every such appliance fixed in 
other factories.* 

Good feeling is also kept up in other minor ways. 
I referred in Chapter II. to the hoods that are supplied 
to the girls in certain departments ; in every workshop 
the girls are supplied with overalls free of charge ; 
these are washed once a week. Some of the men, 
if engaged in particularly dirty work, are likewise 
provided for in this way. Complaints of any de- 
scription may be addressed direct to the Works 
manager or to the chairman of the Company, 
without the intervention of the foremen ; this con- 
tributes to keep up confidence and good feeling. If 

* Messrs. Lever Brothers pay no royalty, but, in addition to the cash 
prize, defray the cost of patenting. 


overtime has to be worked the men are allowed half 
an hour's break, and the girls (during this break) who 
cannot legally work beyond seven o'clock are given a 
free tea. In these and many other ways much is 
done to ensure good feeling, over and above the 
institutions to which reference is made further on. 

HOURS AND WAGES. As regards hours and 
wages, conditions at Port Sunlight compare well with 
those that prevail in most factories. The day begins 
for men at 7.50 A.M. and ends at 5.30 P.M., one hour 
being allowed for dinner ; girls are employed from 
8 to 5, also with one hour's allowance at midday ; on 
Fridays all leave at 5.30, and on Saturdays at 12.30. 
Thus the girls are secured a 45-hour week and the 
men exactly a 48-hour -week, or eight hours a day. 
Compared with the usual conditions of labour these 
are excellent, and there is a consensus of opinion 
among the managers that the work has benefited as 
much as the worker ; the day is not too long, but it 
is well filled, and there is none of the slackness in 
the later hours that characterizes factories where the 
men are employed for nine or ten hours. It is good 
to think that an arrangement can benefit both employer 
and employee, a state of affairs which is all too rare. 
Incidentally it is worth noting that the men enter the 
Works ten minutes before the girls, and leave them 
half an hour later ; the object of this arrangement is 
not so much to enable the men to put in three hours 
per week more work than the girls, for this might 
have been achieved otherwise, as to arrange for the 
girls to be away from the scene when the Works open 
and close for the men. It would not be conducive to 
discipline for the 2000 men and boys and the 1600 


girls to leave the Works in a confused stream, par- 
ticularly during the reaction following upon release 
from work. For this purpose ten minutes have been 
found sufficient in the morning, for the girls rarely 
anticipate the time of opening, while in the evening 
half an hour is fully necessary to clear them from 
Port Sunlight. 

The bulk of the labour employed at Port Sunlight 
is unskilled ; the number of casuals varies all the 
year round between 200 and 250. Trade Union rates 
are paid in all cases, and it is worth noting that, 
where the Union rules allow of a working week 
exceeding 48 hours, at Port Sunlight the full rate is 
paid for the short week. This has resulted in good 
relations with the Unions, so good that there has never 
been a strike at the Works, nor has there been even a 
threat of one. The girls are paid $s. to IDS. a week 
as learners, and can earn 12s. to i$s. a week on piece 
work ; boys (under 21) $s. to 22s. a week ; the men 
(all over 21) receive a minimum wage of 22s. a week, 
but most of them are paid about 2$s. It is interesting 
to note that up to some time ago the minimum wage 
was the average of the district, i.e. 2Os. a week ; it was 
increased without any demand from the men, because 
the management held that 2os. was too low a level for 
a family. The minimum wage is paid to all the male 
workers over 21, even to those who are engaged on 
piece work. These receive 22s. a week and any 
excess they may have earned ; should they have 
earned less than 22s. they still receive that sum, and 
the difference is debited against them and repaid later 
when they once more exceed the minimum. The 
Works are liable to lose by this system if a man dies 


or leaves, for in the latter case no claim is made 
against him, but the object of the system is actually 
to secure the minimum wage for all. These wages 
have never created discontent, partly, no doubt, owing 
to the advantages conferred on those who live in the 
Village and to the various conveniences described 
further on, which are at the disposal of employees of 
both sexes. Before passing on to other questions, it 
should be observed that under no circumstances are 
children under fourteen employed at the Works, and 
that the same rule applies to married women. As soon 
as a girl marries she is looked upon as a " housekeeper " 
and debarred from employment in the Works, excep- 
tions being occasionally made for widows and for a 
few special cases. It is hardly necessary to emphasize 
the importance of this rule ; the evils that follow in 
the train of industrial work for married women work 
which to the shame of England is sometimes persisted 
in up to the day when the woman gives birth to a 
child are so notorious that it is needless to enlarge 
upon them, any more than upon the results of such 
work on the home, upon the health and the education 
of growing children. To close the subject of hours 
and pay, it should be said that clerks work from 8.30 
to 5, and on Saturdays from 8.30 to 12.30 ; in common 
with the workmen they are paid time and a-half for 
overtime. A peculiar feature of this overtime system 
is that instead of being paid out at the end of the 
week earnings are credited to the employee ; a portion 
of the accumulation may be withdrawn at Christmas 
or left for the annual holiday. Should a man be off 
duty on account of illness or for any other reason, 
late at his work, etc., he receives his usual wages 


and deductions are made against his overtime 

WHAT is DONE FOR GIRLS. Far more is done 
in the Factory for the girls than for the men ; but this 
is explained by the fact that they are mostly very 
young and can only earn small' wages. Cloak rooms 
are provided for both sexes ; they are ventilated and 
warmed, every employee having a numbered peg. 
Attached is a drying-room, an important adjunct, for 
it enables the girls to hang up their wet clothes in an 
atmosphere heated to about 100 degrees, boots being 
placed on a special grating ; after two or three hours 
clothing is absolutely dry. This system probably 
saves the Port Sunlight girls many a chill. The 
forewomen have a special room. 

Each division of the Works is provided with a 
rest room for the girls ; this is an apartment to which 
any girl who feels unwell may retire for some time on 
applying to the forewoman ; it is destined for slight 
and temporary indispositions only, and furnished 
plainly but prettily with cane chairs and sofas. 
Though the walls are lined with coloured tiles and 
hung with pictures, and the floor is covered with green 
linoleum, I am afraid these rooms are too severely 
hygienic to be really comfortable ; there never was a 
cosy room that was not stuffy as well. However, it 
is not intended to make the rest room a club ; a 
matron is in attendance, but it is said that her services 
are not often required. Attached is a surgery, fitted 
mainly for accidents, where employees can always be 
treated gratis. 

The girls also benefit, on application to the fore- 
woman, by the shower baths, both hot and cold, which 


are provided free of charge. The girls are brought up 
in batches in the firm's time (I could not ascertain 
whether this was intended to promote cleanliness by 
placing before the girls the alternative of "work or 
wash"), and are provided with soap, towels, and 
rubber caps. Considerable use is made of this 
privilege. Washing facilities are given in every 
department in the shape of troughs, soap, and towels ; 
it is regrettable that the water should not be warm, so 
as to make washing easy and, especially, not to dis- 
courage the workers from washing in the winter ; this 
could easily be done by using exhaust steam as a 
means of heating the water. 

WORKERS' RESTAURANTS. Facilities outside the 
Factory are so numerous that it becomes essential to 
distinguish closely between institutions connected with 
the Works and institutions connected with the workers. 
Strictly speaking, the Village institutions, which are 
open to all the employees, should come under the 
second heading, but it is better to study separately 
those which are connected solely with the work at the 
Factory ; they are four in number : Gladstone Hall, 
Hulme Hall, the Holiday Club, and the Old Age 
Pension scheme. 

Gladstone Hall and Hulme Hall are both workers' 
restaurants, the former being reserved for the men 
and the latter for the girls ; but they are con- 
ducted on different principles and must, therefore, 
be described separately. Both institutions are practi- 
cally necessary, for New Ferry and Bebington are 
both about half a mile from the Works and, at 
any rate, could not accommodate a tenth of the 
employees during the dinner hour. Gladstone Hall 


is practically opposite the Works ; it is a large hall 
about seventy-five feet by fifty (seating space alone), 
with a high vaulted roof and enormous windows and 
top-lights. As it can and does seat eight hundred 
diners at a time, it is not superfluous to say that 
ventilation is secured by three large doors and by 
fifteen ventilators in the roof over and above the 
windows. Gladstone Hall is beautifully designed, the 
vault being broken only by three fifty-foot cross- 
beams, and the windows being of the usual casement 
type favoured at Port Sunlight ; its walls are profusely 
decorated with oil paintings. At one end is a stage 
with footlights and flies complete, the other end being 
occupied by a stand for the cinematograph ; thus it is 
easy to make use of the hall for other purposes than 
those of the restaurant. It has been used for political 
meetings, dances, etc., and is fully licensed for stage 
plays, music, and dancing ; a clever arrangement is 
that of the tables, which can drop into halves and be 
turned in a short time into seats with backs. The 
hall is warmed by steam and lighted by electricity. 
Its outer aspect is pleasant, for it is built in the 
" English cottage " style, of which so many examples 
have been erected at Garden City ; moreover, it stands 
in its own grounds and is covered with creepers. The 
interest of Gladstone Hall lies, however, not so much 
in the facilities it affords for entertainment as in its 
daily use as a restaurant for the men. Those who live 
in the Village go home, but so many live out that the 
eight hundred seats are none too many ; moreover, it 
is not a preserve of the Company's employees, and it 
is used by such men as carters, etc., whose work detains 
them at Port Sunlight during the dinner hour. The 


staff will cook any food that the men may bring before 
going to work or warm such dishes as pies or stews. 
For these purposes a large oven is provided, the 
warming of the meals being done by steam, so that 
burning becomes impossible ; this, as also the supply 
of utensils, cans, hot water, and salt is free, the cans 
and hot water being required for the making of coffee 
and tea which the men bring with them. Gladstone 
Hall is also available free of cost for the men who 
bring cold dishes. Of course no intoxicants are 
allowed, nor is any food or drink sold ; Gladstone 
Hall does not undertake to provide dinners. I could 
not help thinking it desirable that it should do so, 
particularly in view of the success of Hulme Hall, 
described further on ; it is certainly a boon for the 
workers to have their dinners kept warm and a com- 
fortable hall provided, but it would be still better to 
run a restaurant on a self-supporting basis as is done 
at Hulme Hall. However, the hall is extensively 
patronized and proceedings are remarkably orderly ; 
the caterer and his assistants have no difficulty in 
keeping down horseplay, spitting, etc. ; several large 
tubs are provided for refuse, so that it is easy to keep 
the hall clean by swabbing the floor daily and scrub- 
bing it once a week with deck brushes. 

In connection with Gladstone Hall are two dinner 
clubs, run respectively by the male and female clerks. 
Each of these clubs has a special room and governs 
itself by its own committee ; both pay a nominal rent, 
and engage their own cook and staff ; they also elect 
a caterer from among themselves. Messrs. Lever 
Brothers merely supply utensils, crockery, and coal, 
which entails hardly any extra expense, for the Hall 


range is used, and the members of both clubs take 
it in turn to do their own waiting. These clubs are 
very successful and supply five dinners a week, for 
which the men pay $s. and the girls 2s. 6d. The 
meal comprises soup, meat, two vegetables, and a 
sweet. The men's club numbers about 70 members, 
and the girls' 20. Most of the girls go to Hulme 
Hall, which is as suitable for the clerks as for the 
Factory girls, as will be gathered from the following 

Interesting as Gladstone Hall may be, it fades into 
insignificance by the side of Hulme Hall, the girls' 
restaurant. This is an enormous building, standing 
in a garden about a minute's walk from the Works ; 
its size will be realized not only from its measure- 
ments (length 170 feet, breadth 48 to 90 feet) but 
from the fact that it can accommodate simultaneously 
1800 diners. It is of the high vaulted type favoured 
at Port Sunlight, and is flooded with light by means 
of its glazed roof ; the walls are tiled and covered 
with pictures, most of them originals of soap 
advertisements and cleverly drawn. Hulme Hall 
was opened in 1901, and cost about ; 18,000 to build ; 
it is an exceedingly successful venture. Every day 
it provides about 1500 dinners with ease and ex- 
pedition ; there are six counters where tea, soup, 
dinners, puddings, and cakes are sold, the sixth being 
reserved for the free distribution of hot water and 
utensils. The speed with which serving is carried 
out is remarkable, for there are no attendants : the 
girls file up to the counters in order ; there is no 
pushing and no quarrelling, so much so that there 
is no need for a superintendent, and that it is possible 



to converse in ordinary tones in the midst of 1500 
girls having dinner ; speed of service is facilitated by 
checks purchased at the Works. This obviates the 
necessity for taking money in the Hall. Hulme Hall 
is open to all the female employees, even to those 
who choose to bring their own provisions ; these, as 
well as those electing to buy their dinner at the Hall, 
are provided, free of charge, with utensils (enamel 
mug, coffee or tea pot, tray, and spoon) and hot 
water. Most of the girls, however, prefer to make use 
of the Hulme Hall menu ; the reason for this will be 
realized from the following bill of fare, which does not 
vary very much : 

Dinner (meat, potatoes, vegetables) .. 2d. 

Steak Pie 2d. 

Milk Pudding id. 

Boiled .. .. .. .. id. 

Soup and Bread .. .. .. 

Tea \d. 

Tart id. 

Bread and Butter (4 slices) .. .. id. 
Sandwiches .. .. .. 

For $d. or 4^. it is therefore possible for a girl to 
obtain a hot dinner ; I inspected the portions and 
they did not appear illiberal ; at any rate an extra id., 
making a total of $d., brings the standard up to a level 
adequate for a young girl employed on sedentary 
work. In view of these prices it is amazing that 
Hulme Hall is self-supporting ; it is run entirely by 
Messrs. Lever Brothers, and is therefore hardly a 
Village institution ; of course it does not realize 
profits, but it defrays the cost of food, cooking, light, 


and attendance. This should not be lost sight of, 
for it is not desirable to give a bonus of this kind 
to the workers, and it is obviously better for them 
that they should pay the full value of their food, 
benefiting only by co-operation. 

A HOLIDAY CLUB. A more unusual feature than 
either of these restaurants is the holiday club. The 
importance of a holiday for the worker is often not 
sufficiently recognized ; it is difficult to understand 
why the employer considers his manager, traveller, or 
clerk is in need of rest for at least one or two weeks a 
year, and how it i-s that he does not realize the equally 
great need of the manual labourer ; it is probably 
another case of defective visualization, to which, as 
much as to hardness of heart, we can trace much of 
the misery that afflicts our working population. At 
Port Sunlight, however, the necessity for holidays has 
been understood. Every employee who has worked 
in the Factory since October i, is eligible for a week's 
holiday the following summer at full pay, provided he 
has joined the holiday club. This institution is open 
to all the employees, and has been established for the 
purpose of making the holiday a success, by interest- 
ing the worker in the formation of a small special 
fund ; the management is entirely in the hands of a 
committee elected by the male and female employees. 
The holiday week's full pay that the worker receives 
is taken as mortgaged by the needs of the family ; the 
special cost of the holiday is defrayed by the weekly 
deduction of one hour's pay from the employee's 
wages. On the value of these 5 1 hours, the Company 
allows 4 per cent, per completed 4^., the total being 
paid out when the employee decides to take his 


holiday ; the system is therefore, roughly, one of half- 
shares, the employee supplying 5 1 hours' pay, and the 
Company 48 hours, plus interest on deductions. For 
the clerks a different arrangement prevails ; they 
receive 1 5 days' holiday at full pay, plus their overtime, 
as has already been explained ; they are not eligible 
to the holiday club. It is worth noticing among the 
rules that (i) females and boys rated at under 12s. 
a week contribute 3^. per week, (2) any person 
may, on resigning membership, withdraw his total 
contributions without interest, an important point in 
view of the fluctuating nature of the employment. 
The holiday club is the most successful institution in 
the Village ; in 1907 almost every eligible person had 
joined, and holidays had been taken by 1098 men and 
745 women and girls. It is good to know that the 
value of play has been realized both by employers 
and employees, and there is no reason to think that 
the institution will in the future do anything but 

A PENSION FUND. We now come to the most 
important of the four Works' institutions, namely, 
Old Age Pensions. Long service in general is fully 
recognized at Port Sunlight, where every employee 
who has completed 15 years' service receives a gold 
watch, a certificate, and a silver badge. More solid 
benefits than these are, however, essential if we are to 
avoid the tragedy of the aged workman ruthlessly 
scrapped like worn-out machinery, if we are to save 
him from the stigma which is attached by an ungrate- 
ful country to the receipt of poor relief. It should by 
this time be acknowledged that old age pensions 
are a right and not a dole, and that a man earns it as 


fully in a workshop as in a government office ; how- 
ever, I need not dilate upon the subject, for old age 
pensions are practically accepted by all parties, and 
are slowly, too slowly, materializing. Meanwhile, 
something has been done by several important firms 
and the system in vogue at Port Sunlight is worthy of 
our consideration. 

The "Employees' Benefit Fund" was started in 
1904. Its objects are threefold : to grant a retiring 
pension to every worker after a given period of 
service, to provide for those who are compelled to 
retire owing to ill-health or injury, and to pension off 
the widows of employees. Before dealing with the 
conditions under which these allowances are granted 
it is necessary to obtain an idea of the basis and 
working of the fund. The monies are provided in 
their entirety by the Company, and no deduction is 
made from wages ; the sole fact of being an employee 
of Messrs. Lever Brothers is a sufficient qualification ; 
the pension is therefore of the " general and non-con- 
tributory " type, which is alone accepted nowadays by 
the more advanced school of reformers as entirely 
satisfactory. In the Trust Deed there is no precise 
statement of the amounts that the Company shall pay 
in ; the contribution is voluntary and may be stopped, 
the Company making itself liable for no more than 
" a sum sufficient to place the fund on a sound 
financial basis." This, in the case of a small firm, 
would be a weak point, but it is hardly worth con- 
sidering in the present case, and, at any rate, since 
the employees invest nothing they run no risk. On 
the other hand, the Company cannot withdraw any 
sum once paid in, and interest and dividends go to 


swell the capital of the fund. In 1907 the sum of 
;8ooo was paid in. 

The management of the fund is vested in eight 
trustees, four of whom represent the Company and 
four the employees ; the employer-trustees are chosen 
from among the directors, general manager, and 
secretary ; the employee-trustees must be workmen 
or clerks : managers, heads of departments, and fore- 
men are ineligible. In these elections (which take 
place every three years) every employee, male and 
female, has one vote per trustee seat. Since an 
employee-trustee, on promotion, for instance to fore- 
manship, must resign his post, there is no doubt that 
representation is democratic ; the Trust Deed pro- 
vides, moreover, that, under any circumstances 
employer and employee representatives must be 
equal in number, with the sole reservation that an 
employer-trustee must preside, and that he has a 
casting vote. 

The benefits under the fund have already been 
stated. The old age pension is granted to every 
male aged 65 who has completed 20 years' service, 
and to every female aged 60 who has been employed 
for the same period ; it amounts to one-eightieth of 
the last year's salary or wages multiplied by the 
number of years of service, but cannot exceed 180 
a year. 

Example A. 

An employee receiving salary or wages amounting 
to 38^. 6d. a week, or say, 100 per annum, retires 
(if a male at age 65, and if a female at age 60) 
after 40 years' service. The trustees would pay 


him or her an allowance amounting to one- 
eightieth part of 100 multiplied by 40, or 50 
per annum. 

Should the employee retire after 20 years' service, 
but before the age of 65 and 60 respectively (pro- 
vided that ill-health or injury be not caused by the 
employee's culpable negligence or misconduct) the 
trustees are empowered to pay out a similar 

Example B. 

An employee receiving a salary or wages amount- 
ing to $Ss. 6d. a week, or say, 100 per annum, 
retires at age (say 45) after 20 years' service, 
owing to ill-health or accidental injury. The 
trustees have power to pay one-eightieth of 
100 multiplied by 20, or 2$ per annum. 

This does not interfere with the benefit conferred 
by the Workmen's Compensation Acts ; the trustees 
are in these cases guided solely by circumstances, 
and make or do not make an allowance as they may 
think fit. 

Should a male employee who has qualified by 
20 years' service die before he has reached the 
age of 65 (or die while in receipt of a pension), the 
trustees may grant the widow one -half of that to 
which the man would have been entitled had he 
retired at the time of his death, and, in addition, 
one-fifth of the allowance for every child, the total not 
to exceed 90 per annum. In the first case, quoted 
above, had the pensioner died leaving a widow and 


four children, the widow's allowance would have been 
45 ; this would have been paid to her during her 
widowhood only, and a deduction of 5 would have 
been made as each child reached the age of 15. 
The widow of the employee in Example No. 2, who 
had retired owing to ill-health or injury, would be 
treated in exactly the same manner. The trustees 
have power to commute all these allowances for cash 
payments, but it is very rare that resort is had to this 
system ; the only case in which this is likely to happen 
is where the pensioner or his widow enters into another 
employment or business, when the trustees must be 
consulted under pain of forfeiture of the allowance. 
Imprudence is guarded against by protecting the 
pension from creditors ; as it is a compassionate 
allowance, and there is no legal right to it, it cannot 
be charged in case of debt or assigned by the 

This old age pension scheme appears very com- 
plete, and is satisfactory in that it places the worker 
and his family beyond the reach of absolute poverty 
in his old age, while it does not yield him enough to 
keep on the same footing as during his last year of 
employment. For instance, in Example No. I, we 
find that an employee in receipt of 38^. 6d. a week is 
granted a pension of 50, or about igs. ^d. a week ; 
he is placed on half pay. Knowing this, he will have 
had every inducement during his working life to save 
enough to increase his retiring allowance, an induce- 
ment which he would not have had if no old age 
pension had been forthcoming. In Example No. I, a 
man who has worked for 40 years, and whose wages 
are at the end of this period 38^. 6dl, is hardly likely 


to have saved, under the most favourable circumstances, 
much more than ^"300. This at 4 per cent., a reason- 
ably high rate, would yield him 12 per annum or less 
than 5^. a week. This beggarly income would obviously 
hardly be worth striving for, but it assumes a very 
different aspect if it is to be an addition to a 
pension of, say, igs. $d. ; it makes all the difference 
between poverty and comfort, given that pensioners' 
expenses are reduced at Port Sunlight by the offer to 
them of smaller cottages, and, in fact, it justifies the 
idea itself ; a pension, so long as it does not become 
quite equal to the worker's income, is a premium on 
thrift, because without it thrift is thrown away. The 
Port Sunlight Works are young, and have as yet but 
few pensioners, no more than 300 employees having 
completed 15 years' service. The pensioners occupy 
at present some of the early small houses, rented at 
3^. qd. a week, including rates ; they are apparently 
living out a cheerful old age. Provocative of bitter 
thoughts is the contrast when we consider the unjusti- 
fiable misery that drives our respectable poor into 
the workhouses of our great cities. 

ATTITUDE OF THE WORKERS. Statistics will be 
given in subsequent chapters to show that the pension 
list is ultimately likely to be a heavy one, owing to 
the healthiness of the community; it is quite clear 
that the combination of good housing and a sanitary 
factory must tend to this result. It will, however, 
be more convenient and appropriate to consider 
such consequences as these further on, because it is 
impossible to apportion the amounts of beneficial 
influence due respectively to the Village and the 
Works. On the other hand, it is interesting to know 


what the employees themselves think of the conditions 
under which they labour^ they are not uncommuni- 
cative in this respect and, personally speaking, I found 
them ready to talk and generally ready to praise : the 
grumbler is not unknown in Port Sunlight, but there 
would be grumblers in Utopia, a standard which the 
Village does not quite attain as yet. Generally speak- 
ing, however, the outlook of the men is cheerful and 
optimistic, a result which is probably due to their 
apparently excellent state of health. Some complain 
of the rates of wages, a question into which I need not 
enter, but which is sufficiently answered by the fact 
that in all cases full trade union rates or more are paid. 
The true index to the opinion of the workers is 
the length of their stay at the Factory. When we 
remember that Port Sunlight is close to two great 
employing centres, Liverpool and Birkenhead, and 
that unemployment is no more prevalent in the district 
than in other industrial centres, the changes among 
the personnel are a fair test of satisfaction. It is rare 
that a regularly employed worker leaves Port Sunlight 
of his own free will, though a number of the men are 
unskilled and naturally of a roving disposition ; the 
numbers of the staff do not, as a rule, vary much more 
than 10 per cent, this variation being accounted for 
by some hundreds of casuals, most of whom are girls 
living with their families. Security of tenure is there- 
fore more assured to the Port Sunlight worker than it 
usually is in England, and this alone is a considerable 
factor when we come to consider his happiness and 
mental development. Few of the men allow themselves 
to be dismissed without protesting and asking for an 
interview with the General Manager or the Chairman 


of the Company ; I understand that this privilege is 
generally granted, but the fact is interesting as 
showing how keen the men are to retain their work 
at Port Sunlight. 

Though the firm is young, a number of employees 
(as before stated) have already completed fifteen 
years' service ; their numbers will obviously increase 
at a speedier rate as time goes on, since every year 
that elapses brings into count a larger number of 
employees, a number roughly proportionate to the 
development of the business. Within a few years 
several hundreds of employees will have qualified for 
the long-service watch and certificate. In many cases 
the father of the family is employed with his sons and 
daughters ; the inhabitants of the Village are, as a 
rule, anxious to place their children in the Works, 
and it is worth noticing that the sons of the villagers 
have the preference as regards apprenticeships in the 
skilled trades. 

Before dismissing this subject it should be noted 
that casuals are treated in the same way as men 
permanently employed. They have the use of the 
various restaurants and facilities, and may join any of 
the clubs ; when they leave their employment they 
retain membership of these up to the end of the 
financial year, or may remain members indefinitely of 
those clubs which admit outsiders. 

The general impressions of the visitor to the Port 
Sunlight Works can be summed up in three words : 
"Safety, Health and Order." The most striking of 
the three is probably the first, for nothing that can 
possibly be imagined to make machinery and pro- 
cesses fool-proof seems to have been overlooked ; of 


that enough has been said to make it unnecessary to 
return to the. subject. What the health of the com- 
munity ought to be will be gathered from the illus- 
trations, for they show to what extent light and air 
are provided for. Order is also impressive, for some 
departments would seem over-organized, so remarkable 
is the forethought that has been applied with regard 
to them. So far as a factory can be a place of pleasure, 
I xio not hesitate to say that, under the present faulty 
conditions of industrial production, Port Sunlight 
provides an example which every enlightened manu- 
facturer should make it his object to emulate. 



WHEN we wish to describe a foreign town and to 
compare it with one of our own cities, it is not as a 
rule difficult to find means of expressing ourselves. 
We say that the town suggests Bermondsey or Streat- 
ham and are at once understood, but if we try to apply 
the same rule to Port Sunlight we find an insuperable 
difficulty before us, because the little township is at the 
same time a city and a village, because it possesses to 
an equal degree the cheerfulness of Edgbaston, the 
formality of Chiswick, and the charming irregularity of 
Dulwich. Dulwich is perhaps the nearest aesthetic 
equivalent of Port Sunlight, that is, old Dulwich, not 
the newer parts, which the builder is steadily disfigur- 
ing by means of the " row " system ; the houses are 
smaller and built in blocks instead of standing proudly 
in their own grounds, but the general impression of 
greenness and repose is somewhat similar in this 
Dulwich in petto. 

The impression of country is strongest when one 
walks through the Village ; from one's window one 
realizes that it is pretty, but once out in the road 
one is immediately struck by something unusual, for the 
footpaths are not entirely paved as one might expect 


in a town of 3500 souls, but are made of beaten earth 
like those that are found along some of our high roads, 
while the middle of the path is paved with flagstones. 
This trifling circumstance, together with the many 
trees, both old and newly planted, which often intrude 
upon the footway, produces a singularly vivid impres- 
sion of rusticity. Apart, however, from the roads 
themselves, nothing seems to have been neglected 
which may produce in the town-dweller the illusion 
that he has indeed gone back to the land. All the 
houses are set back from the road, often as much as 
ten yards, and sometimes more, so that they are pro- 
tected from the dust and the glare by a broad fringe 
of small gardens, grass grown and gay with flowers. 

gardens deserve a chapter to themselves, so numerous 
and so trim are they. As I have said above, every 
house is fronted by a garden, which is not attached to 
it but is kept up by the estate. At one time these 
front gardens were given up to the tenants, but their 
aesthetic possibilities were not appreciated ; they were 
used as fowl-runs, and even as dustbins, while the 
family washing was unblushingly exposed on the 
palings. The exterior aspect of the Village was being 
ruined, and the estate office had finally to take these 
gardens over, and it has been found that central 
management was more suitable : the results speak for 
themselves. The gardens are usually about a hundred 
feet long by about twenty-five to thirty feet broad, and 
always contain trim lawns, broken here and there by 
flower beds, trees, and groups of trained shrubs ; there, 
as Mr. E. V. Lucas says of Kensington Gardens, one 
sees the spring come in as surely and sweetly as in 


\Toface p. 62. 


any Devonshire lane. Behind the gardens appear the 
little houses, clothed in trailing creepers which overrun 
windows and porches and rebelliously evade the 
gardener's hand. I confess to remembering with some 
sentimental tenderness the glimpses through the 
creepers that embowered my Bath Street window, of 
the spreading lawn where a formal little white stone 
monument retained for a moment the pale rays of the 
northern sun. 

VARIETY OF BUILDINGS. Singularly attractive, 
too, is the architecture of the Village, where, perched 
upon every slope, houses of all styles and colours smile 
in harmonious array. They are not all beautiful, but 
all are quaint and fresh, unexpected and engrossing to 
eyes wearied by the awful monotony of villadom and 
the pretentiousness of stucco. I shall have something 
to say further on of these architectural styles, not all of 
which are quite successful or appropriate, but every 
one of which bespeaks interest and courageous experi- 
ment. It is enough to say that the visitor is at first 
bewildered by their diversity, and that he realizes to 
the full the charm of irregularity ; the houses are set 
down in groups of two and three, of five or six, some 
high, some low, some plain and some ambitious ; there 
is no monotony, and every street has its character, its 
local nationality. 

Irregularity of building does not mean absence of 
plan, and there is much method in the apparently 
casual arrangement of the Port Sunlight roads. 
Though some houses are set back and their roofs are 
not severely brought into line, the design is calculated 
only to break through uniformity, not to deflect the 
straights and the curves of the roads. Port Sunlight 


has been "town-planned" with great care, and so 
successfully that this does not appear from a cursory 
glance, and, to realize it, it is necessary to examine 
the plan itself. It will be gathered from the descrip- 
tion given in Chapter I. of the topography of the 
Village, that it would have been quite impossible to 
lay it out on geometrical lines as has been done at 
Garden City, on account of the deep depressions that 
once were marshes ; had the planning been carried 
out rigidly most of the main roads would have suffered 
from gradients of one in ten or been carried over 
costly bridges. Roughly speaking, Port Sunlight is 
bounded on the east and on the west by two parallel 
roads ; between these lies a third road which traverses 
the estate. These three thoroughfares are connected 
by three principal cross-roads, two of which are practi- 
cally straight. It will be seen from the appended plan 
that, as regards the main roads, everything that could 
be done to preserve regularity has been done, and that, 
where the dells made regularity impossible, the streets 
have been laid out so as to follow the undulations of 
the land. The southern portion of the estate is more 
fully developed than the northern, and is regular in 
design ; it is likely that the laying out of the newer 
half will proceed on similar lines ; such defects as may 
be found in the plan are due almost entirely to the lie 
of the land. 

TOWN PLANNING. The planning of the houses 
themselves has been most carefully thought out, and 
it is interesting to analyze this part of the scheme 
because it is here that the Garden City idea most 
strongly appears. The building area of Port Sunlight 
has been divided into small sections each comprising 



[To face p. 64. 


anything between fifty and one hundred cottages and 
entirely self-contained ; these sections are irregular in 
shape, but are almost invariably rough quadrilaterals, 
along each side of which runs a road. The cottages are . 
built so as to face the roads, the back-yards all being 
turned towards a central area laid out as allotment 
gardens ; in most cases these gardens occupy not less I 
than one-half of the sectional area, an important point 
as far as sanitary conditions are concerned. By this } t 
means the average number of houses per acre is kept 
at about five, or less than half the ultimate average of 
Letchworth, the prototype of garden cities. At this ' 
stage of social discussions it is unnecessary to lay 
stress on the importance of this question, but we 
must remember that however carefully administered, 
however sanitary a village may be, it cannot be said 
to have satisfactorily solved the housing problem 
unless overcrowding be kept down. I mean by this 
the overcrowding of areas, which is almost as dangerous 
as the overcrowding of houses. It is possible that, in 
course of time, the low average of houses per acre 
which is established at Port Sunlight may be slightly 
increased to, say, a maximum of eight houses per 
acre, but the peril is a remote one, if indeed a peril it 
be to attain a standard well below that accepted at 
Garden City. 

The cottages themselves are not detached, for this 
has been thought unnecessary ; they are not built in 
" rows," which is a system against which one cannot 
protest too strongly, but in small groups varying 
between two and ten ; the commonest arrangement 
consists of seven houses. If we take seven houses 
as the average number per block, and seventy-five as 



the average number of houses per section, we find 
that each section comprises ten to eleven blocks ; that 
is neither too much nor too little, for it allows of ten 
to eleven variations in style being applied in the 
same section without inviting too great contrasts 
which would be destructive of harmony. Generally 
speaking all the blocks comprised within a section 
are different, sometimes very different, in style but 
unified to a certain extent by the use of similar 
materials. Thus we may find in the same section 
specimens of Early English and Renaissance archi- 
tecture, but most of the houses are built of brick and 
roughcast or with plaster and beams, so that a suffi- 
cient degree of uniformity is secured. It would not 
be desirable to exaggerate differences of style ; to 
turn Port Sunlight into a congeries of architectural 
experiments would be destructive of the repose that 
makes it in some ways so much more English than 
many a secluded hamlet. As it is, all the blocks are 
not successful, a few being far too ambitious in design, 
but they are mostly restrained in their lines and rarely 
offend the eye which they so often please. It is 
intended, however, to make some more experiments, 
and the estate office has planned blocks in the French, 
Belgian, Dutch, German and Italian styles. This idea 
has not yet been carried out except in the case of a 
small block which is Belgian in style ; the others will 
probably be erected later on, and will then form a 
" street of nations." 

While the most usual design is Early English, we 
find it rather difficult to class the architectural styles 
at Port Sunlight save with reference to materials, for 
there are not very great variations in design, and the 



\Toface p. 66. 


estate relies for its effects mainly on combinations. 
The materials used in the Village are seven in number : 
brick (Ruabon), roughcast (grey, white, or yellow), tile, 
slate, beams (brown or green), plaster (white), and 
sandstone (red). This affords scope for very varied 
combinations, many of which are very pleasing to the 
eye ; they fall naturally into groups, and a few words 
about each of these are not unnecessary. 

large number of these if we take " single " material 
as referring to the walls only, for the roof invariably 
differs ; the "all-brick" house is fortunately but little 
favoured, for it is a failure, however superior it may 
be to the box with five holes in which we usually 
house our working population. These brick houses 
would appear pretty in Ancoats, for they are graceful 
enough in design, and relieved as a rule by pointed 
tiled roofs ; but in Port Sunlight they suffer by com- 
parison with more elegant types. The other houses 
of this group are mainly roughcast ; this material 
lends itself to the more fanciful work than does brick, 
and most of the cottages shown in the illustrations 
with white walls are built in this manner. Yellow and 
grey roughcast occur occasionally, though they are 
more often used in the second group ; yellow roughcast, 
alone, is rarely seen, for it needs relief: a village built 
in this material would be a nightmare. Grey roughcast, 
on the other hand, is very successfully applied at Port 
Sunlight, and is usually combined with green doors 
and window-frames, the effect of which is pleasant, 
though it is eclipsed by the white roughcast. This 
material is extensively used at Port Sunlight, and 
anything fresher and more charming than the little 


white houses, spotlessly clean, with their French 
windows, leaded panes, and gaily painted woodwork, 
I cannot imagine. When this type of house is roofed 
with pink or crimson tiles, it attains the greatest 
possible degree of picturesqueness ; it is good to see 
that this has been fully realized, and that the white 
roughcast cottage is a very frequent type. 

2. TWO-MATERIAL HOUSES. In these dwellings 
the base is usually brick or sandstone, and the upper 
part roughcast or plaster. Where the brick base is 
combined with yellow or grey roughcast the result is 
unfortunate, for the colours approximate enough to 
clash, and not enough to harmonize. The combination 
of a brick or red sandstone base with a white rough- 
cast upper part is, however, very pleasing ; some of 
the prettiest cottages are beyond doubt those in which 
red sandstone is combined with white roughcast, and 
tiles in the same tone as the base. In a few cases 
slate is used as a roof, and contrasts pleasantly with 
the roughcast ; but on the whole its use is discouraged, 
for it is too dreary under the northern sky. 

None of these types are, however, uncommon ; we 
see them more or less successfully carried out in 
various suburbs and in many cases at Garden City. To 
Port Sunlight, however, belongs the credit of having 
built a few cottages of that older type in which 
England was so rich a hundred years ago, and in 
which the sunken beam is a feature. It is beyond 
question that nothing in modern country-house build- 
ing can compare with this style ; at Port Sunlight 
these cottages are built on a low base of red sandstone, 
the upper part being made of white plaster into which 
are sunk broad brown beams. The roofs are pointed, 




{To face p. 68. 


gabled, or fitted with dormer windows, and are built 
of some dark material, such as wood, slate, or even 
thatch ; thus they preserve the restraint that charac- 
terizes this old English style, and, if they were not 
unfortunately somewhat costly, it would be desirable 
to increase their numbers very largely. The Post- 
office, the Library, and the Collegium * are built in 
this style, and, for that reason alone, rank among the 
most attractive buildings in the Village. 

Apart from materials, the design of the Port 
Sunlight cottages is worthy of comment. In some 
cases originality has run rather wild, for most of the 
blocks have been competed for by architects who had 
visibly resolved to outshine their competitors ; on the 
whole, however, a measure of simplicity has been 
preserved. The bay window is a feature, likewise the 
gable and also the dormer window ; here and there we 
find a turret which we could well spare or a small 
porch or a verandah which pleases the eye. In a few 
cases the sloping roofs have been carried too far out 
and the lines of the rooms have been broken by 
unexpected recesses and projections, but, generally 
speaking, space has never been sacrificed to the 
exigencies of beauty. In one block only (Lower 
Road) has light been excluded to any extent for the 
sake of design ; there we find a group of seven houses 
along the front of which runs a verandah supported by 
pillars which, as it is some four feet broad, effectually 
excludes sunshine from the ground floor. This is the 
one and only instance of such a mistake ; in all the 
other cottages the roof is not allowed to project over 
the windows in fact, since the windows are, as a rule, 

* Formerly known as the Girls' Institute. 


flush with the wall, they admit a maximum quantity 
of light. 

We may conclude our consideration of the archi- 
tecture as follows : Some nine out of ten cottages are 
pretty and pleasant to live in, the remaining one being 
invariably, both as regards beauty and convenience, 
far above the average working man's cottage. Building 
has lately been stopped, but, when it is resumed, 
it is almost certain that experience will have taught 
the estate office which are the most successful schemes, 
so that the proportion of failures will ultimately be 
reduced below even the present modest proportion. 
As some of the cottages are almost twenty years old, 
and as they have been built at different dates, there is 
at Port Sunlight an opportunity of studying the results 
of weathering. In most cases they are excellent, 
particularly as regards the brickwork and the yellow 
roughcast ; these somewhat assertive materials are 
toning down, though at a slower rate than they would 
in an industrial city. I am not prepared to regret 
it, for our great towns grow gloomy far too soon. As 
it is, many of the cottages, particularly those built with 
plaster and sunken beams, have lost their suggestion 
of newness ; they have become homes in the best 
sense, for so long as the house is new it is not a home 
but only a dwelling. 

The final conclusion as regards the general effect 
is that it depends to a great extent on circumstances 
other than architecture ; Port Sunlight without its 
spirit would be only an ideal mushroom city, an 
antiseptic paradise. Of this I shall have more to say 
further on, but I cannot pass over the fact that the 
extreme cleanliness of the house-fronts, the complete 



\Tofacep. 70. 


absence of refuse, the unbroken panes, the tidy white 
curtains, and the trim creepers go a long way towards 
making Port Sunlight what it is. The creepers are a 
feature the importance of which would only be realized 
if they were removed ; they are sturdily invading 
every wall and even the roofs : some of the cottages 
are already heavily laden with ivy, Virginia creeper, 
and other climbing plants that burst into flower as the 
year ripens. They are the special care of the estate, 
and, in fact, it seems almost impossible to traverse 
Port Sunlight without encountering the gardeners 
perpetually clipping and trimming ; so much so that 
the close-cropped foliage reminds us irresistibly of the 
wooden trees that once emerged from our Nuremberg 
playboxes. The Port Sunlight secret lies in the tree 
and the shrub, but still more in the broad meadow ; 
the houses are generally built on one side of the road 
only and overlook broad spaces of grass or belts of 
trees. This increases the feeling of privacy a feeling 
which has its moral value so long as it is not allowed 
to destroy the social spirit. 

The influence of Port Sunlight on the district has, 
strange to say, been small. At Bebington there is 
a large Roman Catholic School, built in 1903, the 
architecture of which recalls that of the Village, but 
beyond finding this instance I explored New Ferry 
and Bebington in vain. In both these little places the 
defects that have become familiar to us are apparent. 
Bebington is still semi-rural and has, I expect, 
pleasant spots, but the most pleasant of them will 
not long escape the righteous wrath of the sanitary 
authorities, whilst the newer parts are built on the 
familiar square brick box pattern. New Ferry is still 


worse, for it is entirely urban ; row after row of brick 
cottages, of pretentious stucco-fronted villas, and 
blocks of brand new "workmen's" cottages which 
will be slum property within twenty years ; this sums 
up the neighbourhood. It is truly a wonderful and 
awful contrast ; if we follow the Chester Road, for 
instance, going towards Birkenhead, we find on the 
one side the Port Sunlight cottages, graceful and 
clean, with trim gardens in front ; on the other the 
houses of New Ferry, dirty, monotonous, and un- 
speakably ugly, fronted by small yards often choked 
with rubbish. Here and there a dark and frowsy shop 
and, still worse, the ever-present low-class public-house, 
the existence of which we had almost forgotten. 
Truly, nothing reads so clear a lesson as does this 
comparison ! 

THE FIVE-ROOM STANDARD. Let us, however, 
forget, if we can, the surrounding ugliness and return 
to the Village to study more closely the house itself. 
The Port Sunlight cottages are of two classes, the 
kitchen and the parlour type. The kitchen house 
comprises a kitchen (with scullery and pantry), which 
is used as a living room and takes in most of the 
ground floor, three bedrooms, and a bathroom fitted 
with hot and cold water taps ; in the parlour house 
there is a large living room, a kitchen with scullery 
and pantry, four bedrooms, and a bathroom. It 
should be noted, for this is very important, that no 
house has less than five rooms,* three of which are 
bedrooms, because this raises social questions of the 
highest importance. 

* Except half a dozen three-roomed cottages which are being used 
by old or childless couples or by pensioners. 



{To face p. 72. 


If the Port Sunlight system is to solve the housing 
problem, it will be because it has accepted and 
exceeded the four-room standard, without which it 
is difficult for a family to be brought up, I do not 
say under good sanitary conditions, because that is 
admittedly impossible, but in such a manner as to 
fit its members to take their place among those that 
are clean in mind and soul. We have often been 
harrowed by the description of what happens in our 
big cities, of the families herded in two rooms, even in 
one room of four, five, six, even ten adults and 
children owning but a single room, in which they must 
live, eat, sleep, and even wash if such an inclination 
survive the conditions. It is not necessary to go so 
far ; it is true that the census of 1901 tells us that 
in London alone there were 148,000 persons living 
in 40,600 rooms, or an average of between three and 
four persons per room, and it can hardly be necessary 
to show once more that under such circumstances 
there can be no hope of happiness for the miserable 
tenement dwellers. Their fate is to be subjected from 
their childhood upwards to the foulest temptations 
and examples, to be herded together irrespective of 
age or sex, untaught and unshepherded, to be taunted 
in after years with their moral degradation by the 
middle-class authors of their misery. We know or 
should realize that at the root of all forms of vice, 
particularly drunkenness, lies the problem of housing ; 
evil conditions mean depression, and, for the slag of 
our social system, the only resource, fleeting but 
efficacious, is the public-house and its costly hospi- 



are often told that the working man is drunken, thrift- 
less, and immoral ; I will not deny it, but who will say 
that the changeling son of a duke would withstand the 
influences that so often make the child of the un- 
skilled labourer what he is ? But let it not be for- 
gotten, these are our brethren, and the greater their 
degradation the greater are both our guilt and our 
duty. This case needs no pleading ; but the horror 
of the housing question, for those who have come into 
contact with it, lies in the ignorance and the un- 
conscious cruelty of the classes, of those well-meaning 
but un-understanding and hopelessly warped men and 
women who think that the woes of the English people 
can be cured either by the district visitor or the Kyrle 
Society. The pictures of our city slums rise before 
our eyes, and it is difficult to argue coldly and logically, 
so violent is the gust of passion that overwhelms one 
who can picture the slum family : the man hopelessly 
brutalized because he has no " home," because he is 
driven into the wet streets or the glaring gin shop 
by the noise and the dirt ; the woman, old at thirty 
and her girlish beauty gone, shrewish, over-worked, 
her nerves jarred by continual association with the 
children, by her life in the foul atmosphere of the 
kitchen and the washtub ; the children feeble, ill fed, 
herded together in one room, often in one bed, 
deprived of air, of food, of light, and rich only in 
the vicious experience that oozes from the very pave- 
ments of our great cities. 

There is one way and only one way of coping with 
drunkenness, immorality, ignorance, crime, with every- 
thing that we call evil, and that is good housing. And 
good housing means as an irreducible minimum two 



{To face p. 74. 


rooms for a married couple, three rooms if they have 
not more than two children of one sex, four rooms if 
their children be of different sexes, and never less than 
one room for every two persons. Generally speaking, 
therefore, a four-roomed house is the minimum. In 
urban tenements all the rooms are used as bedrooms, 
but this is not satisfactory ; let any middle-class man 
who has any doubts on this point consider whether he 
could contemplate doing without his dining-room and 
his drawing-room. The three-bedroom standard is, 
therefore, a minimum where there is a family of boys 
and girls ; two rooms are useless, though it has 
seriously been suggested that the father and sons 
should occupy one of the bedrooms, the mother and 
daughters the other. This is an absurd solution, and I 
do not suppose that, in the present state of human 
opinion, it would endure very long if established. 
The demand is therefore : a bedroom for the parents, 
one for the boys and one for the girls ; we cannot very 
well find an argument against this arrangement, for a 
lodger can always be introduced if all the rooms are 
not occupied. It will be seen further on, in the rules 
that regulate tenancies, how carefully this question is 
dealt with, but I do not think it worth while to 
expatiate on this four-room standard ; it is one 
which we can take for granted, and it is not a maximum 
but a minimum ; we do not now ask for marble halls 
for the worker, but there is no reason why he should 
not live in decent comfort. 

Whether we have to deal with the " kitchen 
house" of five rooms, or the "parlour house" of six 
rooms, the features of the Port Sunlight cottage are 
substantially the same. The houses vary but little in 


appearance ; they are neither more nor less ornate ; in 
fact, it is difficult to tell the parlour house from the 
kitchen house until one enters it. Otherwise, parti- 
cularly as regards the important adjuncts scullery, 
pantry, and bathroom there is but little to choose 
between the houses ; the difference lies to a certain 
extent in space, though the kitchen is sometimes as 
large as the parlour, but mainly in the use that is made 
of it. The average frontage of a Port Sunlight cottage 
is eighteen feet, and the dimensions of the front room 
(whether it be a parlour or a kitchen) are not, as a 
rule, less than fourteen feet by twelve, and often four- 
teen by fourteen. That is a good room, and the 
scullery at the back is always sufficiently large to rid 
the kitchen during the day of the grosser evidences 
of cooking. If we pass through this scullery we note 
that, in all the houses, a copper has been fitted ; it 
has a movable lid, so that the apparatus does not 
only expedite operations on washing-day, but it serves 
as a table at other times. Behind the scullery is a 
ventilated larder ; the room also contains a sink pro- 
vided nowadays with both hot and cold water taps. 
Behind the scullery is the back-yard, paved with brick 
and sloping well away from the house, with the offices 
not less than seven feet from the cottage. 

In the smaller houses there is no hall, but only a 
passage ; in the parlour houses this room is fully equal 
to its equivalent in a London block of flats. On the 
first floor we find either three or four bedrooms, 
according to the size of the house ; one is large and 
the others small, often rather too small, though it is, 
of course, better, for the reasons already given, that a 
large family should have several small rooms rather 




than few large ones. The bedrooms all have flat 
ceilings ; they are not attic built This secures 
abundance of light and air. I may add, in this con- 
nection, that wherever a room has no fireplace a 
ventilator has been fixed, though I grieve to say that 
even in Port Sunlight I found one or two of these 
stuffed with rags, and a few windows nailed up; to 
teach the people hygiene is no easy matter. The 
difficulty of ventilation is met, however, by the com- 
paratively large size of the smallest rooms, viz. 
twelve feet by nine by eight, or eight hundred and 
sixty-four cubic feet : a minimum of ventilation will 
maintain good conditions in such a room if it be 
occupied by but one person. 

All these rooms are exceedingly open and well 
lighted ; the entire front of the living room is usually 
cut away and replaced by casement windows, with or 
without a bay window, all opening outwards. The 
bedrooms have narrow but very high windows in the 
same style ; the best bedroom has, as a rule, two large 
windows, but does not repeat the bay window of the 
ground floor. This is worth noting, owing to the 
prevalence in London suburbs of an architectural 
heresy, the piling one upon the other of two, three, and 
even more bay windows, the process being repeated 
along the entire length of a road, which apparently 
goes on for ever. 

A few details that could not be classed should 
be added. Every house has its own dustbin, which 
is emptied by the Council employees ; sewage of all 
sorts is dealt with by the Urban District Council, 
and is very easily disposed of, thanks to the ebb 
tide of the Mersey. Water is provided by a private 


company the West Cheshire. Gas is laid on in every 
cottage, and is retailed by meter. There are no base- 
ments in Port Sunlight an excellent rule against 
which no protests have been made ; sunken portions, 
such as the coal cellar, are outside the house. The 
cottages are well provided with fittings. In the 
kitchen is an elaborate range, supplemented some- 
times by a small gas stove ; there are also cupboards, 
both in the kitchen and upstairs ; hat and coat rails 
are fixed in the hall, and gas-fittings for the whole 
house are supplied free. These are rather important 
items for working-class families who, as a rule, find it 
inconvenient to expend much on fixtures, owing to the 
fluctuating nature of their employment. 

It is difficult to generalize in these matters, but it 
is safe to say that, taking them all round, the cottages 
are the best possible for a working man. When he 
has a small family, the kitchen house, with its good 
living room and three bedrooms, is ideal ; but if he 
has five or six children this type is very inconvenient, 
nor does he gain very much in sleeping accommoda- 
tion if he can afford the rent of a parlour house. In 
neither case is there, of course, any question of over- 
crowding : there is no overcrowding at Port Sunlight 
as we understand the word. The census basis, for 
instance, would fix as a limit for the five-roomed 
house* eight adults or as many adults and children 
(counted as half an adult) as would make up a total 
of eight adults ; for instance, three adults (over six- 
teen) and ten children would not exceed the limit, 
and the fact that the cold official view of overcrowding 
accepts such a standard shows what must be the 
* Deducting one room for bathroom, hall and scullery combined. 

COTTAGES. [To face p. 78. 


terrible condition of urban housing. In the parlour 
house we find four bedrooms, but two are always 
small, so that difficulties present themselves ; but I 
suppose that under the present social system difficulties 
cannot be avoided as regards the housing of the 
working class. It seems, however, that there is room 
for a third type of house, which I might call the 
"family cottage," consisting of a large kitchen and 
living room combined, a small bedroom occupying the 
remainder of the ground floor. The first floor could 
then either be divided into four rooms, as is now the 
case, or, better still, into three, when their size would 
become such as to allow of each being occupied by 
two persons. Moreover, a room should be something 
more than a sleeping place, viz. a refuge from noise 
and society ; co-operation and mutual intercourse must 
not be discouraged ; but they must not be forced upon 
the people, and it is important that all the members of 
a family should have opportunities for reading and 
thinking in private. 

These are, however, small matters, and one is 
almost ashamed to venture upon counselling per- 
fection to the organizers of a village which approaches 
more nearly than any other system that perfection of 
housing that can alone make life worth living ; I feel 
quite sure that the perusal of the following chapters, 
particularly that which deals with the Village institu- 
tions, will prove beyond doubt that the objects of the 
scheme health, education, and sociability have been 
realized to the full. 



PORT SUNLIGHT is not an open estate ; it is an 
experiment in model housing in the same way as 
Earswick and Garden City, but in so far as it aims 
at directly influencing the Factory workers it is also 
something more. So long as it does not and cannot 
accommodate them all, it is absolutely necessary, if 
the object of the scheme is to be attained, to confine 
its benefits to the employees of the Works. Hard 
things have been said of the Village as regards this 
aspect of the question ; it has been stated, or more or 
less plainly hinted, that Port Sunlight does not come 
up to the standard of other model villages because it 
is " bounty fed." This is a doctrinaire view, or rather, 
it shows a lack of comprehension of the aims of the 
founders ; it is true that Port Sunlight rents are low, 
in fact, uncommercial qua rents, but in this fact lies 
the very essence of the scheme, viz. profit-sharing or 
prosperity-sharing. This question is so fully dealt 
with in another chapter that it is unnecessary to con- 
sider it here, but it must be admitted that it is both 
legitimate and sensible to restrict the benefits conferred 
on the residents to the employees of the Works. If 
Port Sunlight could accommodate all its workers and 

COTTAGES. [7 o face p. 80. 


their families, then, if outsiders were admitted on an 
unprofitable scale, it would be time to cry out 
"bounties," but that is very far from being the case 
at present. 

The Village consists of seven hundred and twenty 
houses, and of these about seven hundred are occupied 
by employees of Messrs. Lever Brothers, or of Village 
institutions. The remaining twenty are held either by 
former employees, or by outsiders who are specially 
authorized ; it will be seen that, to all intents and 
purposes, the Village is closely preserved for the 
employees. The rules for tenants being short and 
explicit, they may be quoted in full 


RULE i. Persons to be eligible for dwellings must have 
their applications approved by the directors of Lever 
Brothers Limited. Priority will be given to those engaged 
on the permanent staff in offices and works of the Company, 
or in institutions in Port Sunlight, but in specially approved 
cases other applicants for houses may be admitted subject 
to payment of an increased rent of 33! per cent. 

RULE 2. The tenancies are from week to week. 

RULE 3. No tenant may sub-let his house or part 
of it. 

RULE 4. Tenants desirous of having lodgers must have 
themselves registered at the offices of the Company as so 
desirous, and each lodger's name and occupation must be 
handed into the office by the tenant. Lodger's date of 
entry and date of leaving must also be supplied. 

RULE 5. No one may lodge in the Village who is 
not in the employment of the Company, or their sub- 



RULE 6. Lodgers in one house must be of the same 

RULE 7. The following regulations respecting lodgers 
will be strictly enforced : 

" Tenants with families of more than two children, or with 
children over twelve years of age, must not keep lodgers. 
Tenants with one or two children under twelve years of 
age may keep one lodger. Tenants without families may 
keep two lodgers." (See Note.) 

RULE 8. An authorized official of the Company may 
visit any house in Port Sunlight, at any time, for the purpose 
of seeing that due regard is being paid to order and 

RULE 9. The tenant is liable for all loss by broken 
windows and internal damages (fair wear and tear excepted), 
which he must make good or pay for on giving up 

RULE 10. In order to maintain the health and cleanli- 
ness of the Village, no tenant will be allowed to keep 
poultry, or to erect poultry houses or similar erections, in 
the yards of the cottages, but tenants may keep poultry 
in the allotment gardens, provided they create no nuisance. 

RULE ii. In the case of infectious disease in any 
house on the estate, tenants are required to at once notify 
the same to the Company's office or estate office. 

NOTE. "Lodger " to be understood to mean any person not being 
the father or mother or child of tenant. Married sons or daughters 
(and their wives or husbands) will be considered as "lodgers." 

It will be seen from Rule I that an employee is 
not entitled to be housed, but that he has priority. 
The object of this rule is to provide as much as 
possible for those whose occupation at the Works 
is permanent. It has not been thought advisable, 
since accommodation is limited, to admit tenants 

COTTAGES. [To face p. 82. 


strictly in order of priority of application, for this 
would let in the casual and semi-casual element, and 
entail upon the estate expenses in repairs and cleaning 
which would ultimately react unfavourably upon the 

Rule 2 is important because it has been the cause 
of a good deal of controversy. When an employee 
leaves the Works, or is discharged, he receives at the 
same time notice to give up his house within a week, 
but this notice is not often enforced. It is obvious on 
the one hand that the problem facing a man who 
has just lost his employment is seriously complicated 
by his having to find another home, for it interferes 
with his far more important search for work. On the 
other hand, given that a large number of men are 
engaged at the Works, and that continual fluctuations 
are inevitable, it is clear that, if tenants were allowed 
to retain possession of their houses indefinitely after 
having left the Factory, the Village would by degrees 
pass into the hands of outsiders ; the objects of the 
scheme would be frustrated, and non-employees would 
draw a bonus in the shape of improved housing at a 
low rate, to which the workers at the Factory are alone 
entitled. This difficulty has, however, been recognized 
by the estate, and I understand that it is not now 
usual to press the notice to quit, but that tenants are, 
as a rule, allowed a month in which to vacate their 
cottages. The estate reserves to itself full control of 
this extension, for it is clearly justified in refusing to 
afford facilities when, for instance, a man has been 
dismissed for dishonesty. On the other hand, it is 
not good that arbitrary power of this nature should be 
vested in the hands of minor officials, whose action 


may easily become vexatious ; this, however, is a 
matter of administration. 

The rules concerning lodgers show on the one 
hand that the authorities are determined to keep up 
the moral tone of the Village, and on the other, that 
overcrowding is not to be allowed to nullify the value 
of the general scheme. This particular question is 
notoriously serious in all our great cities ; the lodger 
is usually a young man from the country, or, in the 
poorer parts, a casual labourer without a family ; in 
many cases lodgers are admitted into tenements which 
are already overcrowded, and share both sleeping and 
living rooms with the family. It does not need very 
much knowledge or even imagination to realize that 
this practice does not make for a high moral standard ; 
indeed, the perils of admitting a stranger so closely 
into the family circle are obvious and notorious ; every 
night and in every music hall in England this subject 
is alluded to in a would-be jocular manner, but it is 
quite clear that domestic trouble of the most detestable 
kind, or even more painful acceptance of facts, should 
be stringently guarded against. I do not, therefore, 
think that Rules 4, 5, 6, and 7 can arouse much 

Rule 8 is worth noting because the work of the 
authorized official has become almost a sinecure ; the 
fact is obvious after one has visited some half-dozen 
homes, and realized to how great an extent the rule 
has affected the tenants' mode of living. The pro- 
visions may appear vexatious, but it is not really more 
so than the visit of the sanitary or school attendance 
officer ; at any rate, I did not hear any complaints on 
this score. 


The object of Rule 10 is stated in the text ; pigs 
may not be kept at all, which is perhaps unfortunate, 
but it would be difficult to do so satisfactorily on the 
ten perches of an allotment ; poultry and pigeons are, 
however, kept there in numbers, so that the rule does 
not interfere unduly with the comfort of the tenants. 

These are not stringent rules, except as regards 
the lodger question, but they could well be made more 
severe if it were desired to counterbalance the con- 
siderable advantages derived by the tenants in the 
shape of low rents. Beautiful and comfortable homes 
are admittedly important, but, before all things, if we 
are to solve the housing problem, we need cheap 
homes, low rents. Strictly speaking, Port Sunlight 
rents are not very low, if we take into consideration 
the " prosperity-sharing " which modifies them. It is 
rather difficult to arrive at a figure which would be the 
legitimate rent of a Port Sunlight cottage. The 
average price of land, originally ^240 per acre, has 
been increased by additions and by local betterment ; 
the cost of the cottages varies a great deal, as much 
as 50 per cent., if we compare the smallest kitchen 
house with the largest parlour house ; the cost 
has varied considerably even inside each class with 
the accommodation and especially the decoration. 
Roughly speaking, if we take the ultimate figure 
of building at ten cottages to the acre and the land 
at the very moderate price of 300 per acre, we find 
that each cottage accounts for a capital value of 30 
per site ; this figure is not likely to decrease : it is 
far from over-estimated as it is. As regards the cost 
of cottages, the kitchen house averages 275, and 
the parlour house 375 ; some of the later types 


of both classes have reached 300 and 400, the 
plaster and sunken beam cottage being the most 

The above figures are interesting, but they are 
quoted only in view of the agitation that has been 
carried on for some years in favour of "cheap" 
cottages. The cost is certainly rather high ; the 
Urban Cottages Exhibition at Letchworth in 1907 
showed that a house of the " Kitchen " type could 
be built, if not for 200, as was desired, at any rate 
for 225, and a "Parlour" house for 265. They 
were all, it is true, much less ornate and some less 
substantial than Port Sunlight cottages, and their cost 
did not include yard walls, architects' fees, cartage, etc., 
but still there is a difference. It should be said that 
it was not desired, at Port Sunlight, to cut prices to 
any great extent, and the comparison is in no wise 
derogatory, for the object of the Letchworth exhibi- 
tion was to show what could be done at a minimum 
cost, whilst the founders of Port Sunlight set out to 
attain an ideal with a comparative disregard of cost, 
and above all to build beautiful houses for the people ; 
many cottages bear the addition of 50 for bay 
windows, gables, etc. At Earswick also, Mr. Rown- 
tree's model village, the cost of a kitchen house 
is well below the Port Sunlight figure, but far less 
has been spent on beautifying the frontages. It 
must therefore be understood that Port Sunlight is 
an experiment rather in ideal than in cheap housing. 

PORT SUNLIGHT RENTALS. The rentals are, 
however, not unduly heavy. The kitchen houses 
are let at prices varying between $s. 6d. and 4*. 6d. t 
according to size of rooms and situation, to which 


should be added is. 6d. to is. gd. for rates, making 
the gross rentals $s. to 6s. $d. per week. The parlour 
houses are let at $s. 6d., 6s. 6d., and Js. 6d., amounts 
which are brought up by rates to ?s. 6d., Ss. gd., and 
lOs. From these figures, taking the commonest type 
of both classes, we see that the average rent is about 
5^. yd. per week for a kitchen house and Ss. gd. for 
a parlour house, including rates and repairs ; most 
of the factory workers live in cottages rented at less 
than 6s. per week, the larger houses being occupied 
mainly by foremen, skilled artisans, and clerks. 

These rentals absorb, on an average, between one- 
quarter and one-fifth of the worker's weekly wage ; 
this is, of course, far too large a proportion, but one 
that is unfortunately too frequent everywhere. Indeed, 
particularly in London, it is usual to find the workman 
paying as much for a two-roomed tenement as he 
does in Port Sunlight for an entire cottage ; so 
there is no doubt that, taking things not as they should 
be, but as they are, he is getting far more for his 
money than he would anywhere else. Evidence of 
this is not lacking ; in Birkenhead and Liverpool it 
is impossible to obtain in working-class neighbour- 
hoods surroundings and sanitation to equal those of 
Port Sunlight, and yet the nearest equivalent costs the 
workman about one-third more than it would on the 
estate. When the experiment of admitting outsiders 
was tried the estate office was flooded with applica- 
tions, in spite of the fact that outsiders were charged 
one-third extra ; as it is, some twenty outsiders con- 
tentedly pay these very much enhanced rents for the 
privilege of living in the Village, though their work 
lies outside its boundaries. 


RATES AT PORT SUNLIGHT. The attraction of 
Port Sunlight lies, not only in its low rents, but in 
the fact that far higher rents do not command similar 
accommodation in the neighbourhood. This has been 
recognized in a manner not altogether pleasant for 
the villagers, the urban district council having for 
many years assessed the cottages above their rental 
basis ; thus not only is no abatement allowed, but 
a cottage the net rent of which is 4^. 3^. may, for 
the purposes of rating, be assessed at $s. This is 
not unfair, for the authorities must take into con- 
sideration the peculiar scheme of profit-sharing which 
influences the rental figure ; the upshot is that Port 
Sunlight carries a burden of rates which is not counter- 
balanced by its political power. In 1907 the five 
wards of the Lower Bebington Urban District 
numbered 1946 electors, out of whom Port Sunlight 
accounted for 586. Out of eighteen members of the 
Council Port Sunlight returned five, or 30 per cent., 
while paying 50 per cent, of the local rates. I do 
not for a moment suggest that voting power should 
absolutely follow the purse, but in local affairs it has 
generally been assumed that he who pays must rule, 
and when the disproportion between obligations and 
rights is so great as it is in this instance, there appears 
to be room for a readjustment of wards. In the case 
of Lower Bebington U.D.C., there is beyond doubt 
room for redistribution ; Bebington ward, for instance, 
with 343 voters, returns six members, and Port Sun- 
light ward, with 374 voters, has only three. 

On the basis of population, therefore, as well as 
of rates, representation no longer corresponds to con- 
ditions ; in view of the similar position in which 

\7 \? 





[To face p. 


Parliament itself has been ever since it became 
"representative," I suppose it is too much to hope 
for an amendment of these conditions. 

How RATES ARE PAID. Each tenant authorizes 
the Company to deduct from the wages a weekly in- 
stalment towards payment of rates. When he receives 
his rate-demand note, he brings it to the Company, 
who supply the necessary funds from the tenant's own 
rates account. In effect, the firm conduct what may 
be called a Savings Bank for rates. The cost of 
collection is in this way materially reduced, as col- 
lectors have only to make one call. The tenant being 
in communication with the local authority, is able to 
realize that administration is or is not efficient. His 
interest in local government is quickened. This 
interest is, as a rule, lukewarm enough, as is shown 
by the polling returns in English towns ; a 50 per 
cent, poll is far from bad, and the proportion is often 
lower. At Port Sunlight the effect of this system has 
been to increase popular interest in local questions, 
which affect the householder to a far greater extent 
than do imperial questions, and it would certainly 
be desirable to establish it everywhere. 

THE VILLAGE ACCOUNT. Apart from variations 
in the rates, which are neither large nor frequent, the 
Port Sunlight rents have been influenced of late years 
by the state of the Village account. As I have already 
hinted, the principle of the scheme is set forth in 
another chapter, but it is necessary to outline it here 
because it influences the rents. The capital cost of 
the Village, including land, cottages, open spaces, 
public buildings, institutions, etc., is taken at a lump 
sum, about 500,000 ; on this capital value 5 per cent. 


interest is charged by the Company, or about 25,000. 
To this sum we must add I per cent, depreciation on 
buildings, upkeep and repairs, cost of estate administra- 
tion, etc. It should be said that the interest charge 
of 25,000 is returned to the Village account by the 
Company as a profit-sharing contribution ; thus it is 
only a pro forma entry and does not actually affect 
the rents. These have, however, fluctuated to a 
certain extent, and they are now higher than they 
were in the beginning ; this is in part due to the 
exaggerated demands for repairs that are made by 
the tenants. The landlord having contracted to under- 
take repairs as well as to keep up the gardens, the 
tenants are naturally more inclined to make such 
demands than if they had to defray these expenses 
out of their own pockets. In the long run they suffer 
indirectly, for the body of tenants is its own landlord 
in so far as its expenditure tends to fix the standard 
of rents. The outlook is, however, improving, for 
the tenants have begun to realize that individual 
extravagance reacts unfavourably upon the comfort 
of the community ; the result of this growing feeling 
is something more important than diminishing 
rents : solidarity and a tendency towards social co- 

Apart from the question of high or low rents, it 
seems essential that the Village account should be so 
balanced as to make variation impossible. Fluctuating 
rents are as bad as fluctuating bonuses ; they amount 
to almost exactly the same thing and their results 
are equally serious. A drop in the rent rarely means 
that thrift will be encouraged ; I do not suggest that 
the difference will necessarily be dissipated, but it is 


more likely to be expended on luxuries than on neces- 
saries ; thus, when rents rise once more, the tenant 
finds himself face to face with reduced means and 
increased desires. The rents must be as nearly fixed 
as is humanly possible. Of course the cry among the 
Port Sunlight tenants is for further reductions, and the 
demand is quite understandable, but it would be im- 
prudent to yield to it at present. Even when the 
Village account has taken over the upkeep of all the 
institutions and has a balance on the right side, rents 
should not be reduced at once ; it will be necessary to 
accumulate a reserve capable of coping with a suc- 
cession of, say seven, bad years, which is a little more 
than the average duration of a complete commercial 
crisis. A conservative policy of this kind is bound to 
create discontent, but it would be criminal to jeopar- 
dize in cold blood the success of so promising a 
scheme. I do not doubt that the growing sense of 
solidarity among the tenants will soon allow of the 
Village account taking over the institutions in their 
entirety ; as it is, the last yearly accounts show a credit 
balance of over 1000. 

Generally speaking, the tenants have nothing but 
good words to say for the system and its adminis- 
trators, but there are a few complaints. Over and 
above the rent question, which could hardly be settled 
unless its amount were brought down to vanishing 
point, there is a feeling that the Company should 
defray the upkeep and expenses of the institutions ; 
it will be seen in Chapter VI. how these are controlled, 
and I believe that the reader will agree that the 
institutions are as favoured by the Company as is 
good for them. The institutions already enjoy the 


great advantage of being provided with buildings at 
a low cost, and it is notorious that an organized body 
which is not extensively supported by its members 
inevitably becomes a hotbed of patronage. It would 
be better that the institutions should become extinct 
than that they should lose their independence. There 
are also the usual complaints against certain officials, 
some of which are probably well- and some ill-founded ; 
it would be futile to enter into the details of complex 
cases, for they do not bear upon the principles of the 
scheme. It may be taken, therefore, that, on the 
whole, the tenants are well satisfied with housing 

Before dismissing the subject of the Village itself, 
the " Village Account," to which I have referred before 
now, should be analyzed in greater detail. Strictly 
speaking, it should be called the " Village Accounts," 
for it comprises a memorandum of capital outlay and 
a statement of the income and expenditure ; when 
used in the singular the words usually refer to the 
latter. Both these documents, made up to December 3 1 , 
1907, are reproduced here, for it is impossible other- 
wise to gain a clear idea of the state of the Village 





t. <*. s. 

Purchase of 132 acres of Land, Mak- 
ing of Roads, Drainage, Levelling 
and Filling in Pool, Laying of 
Mains, and Erection of Bridges . . 

Erection of Cottages, Shops, and 

Bridge Inn 282,726 4 6 

Furniture in the Bridge Inn .. 1,826 3 o 

Laying-out of Parks, Gardens, Bowl- 
ing-green, Rifle-range, Recreation 
Grounds, and Part Cost of Foot- 
ball Enclosure 

Schools (Park Road and Church 
Drive) and Cost of Extension of 
the Technical Institute previously 
presented to Village .. .. 29,973 o 3 
Furniture and Fittings contained 
in above 3,428 8 I 

Auditorium, Baths, Band Stand, 
Collegium, Gymnasium, Hospital, 
Library, and Social and Bowling 

Club 29,745 15 3 

Furniture contained in the 
above, together with the Band 
Instruments .. .. .. 5,599 1 8 8 

Technical Institute 

(a Gift) 
(a Gift) 

137,178 10 o 

284,552 7 6 

8,047 10 7 

33,401 8 4 

35,345 13 

498,525 10 4 




* d> 

Rents of Cottages, Shops, Bridge Inn, and Allotment 
Gardens 8,490 9 n 

Interest as above allowed by Lever Brothers Limited 24,680 10 7 

33,171 o 6 


ACCOUNT, 1907. 


*. d. 

Cottages and Bridge Inn Repairs, Beautifying, and 
Sundries i>6i7 13 5 

Upkeep of Parks, Gardens, and Walks .. .. 471 16 7 

Deficits on Working Accounts, Sundry Repairs, 

Alterations and payments in connection with 

Schools and Technical Institute \ 

Auditorium, Baths, Band, Collegium, Cottage! fi 
Hospital, Football Club, Gymnasium, Library, j 47 
Musical Expenses, Social and Bowling Club . . J 

Office Expenses 

Salary and Wages 366 8 6 

Printing, Postages, and Sundries 27 7 n 

General Expenses 

Depreciation (Basis: 1% on Buildings, 7$% on 

Furniture, per annum) 4,150 o o 

Interest (Basis : 5% on Capital Outlay, 
December 31, 1906 24,68010 7 

Insurance 158 4 6 

Tithe Rent 9 7 10 

Christ Church Expenses and Salaries of Minister, 
Lay Helper, Choir, etc., are not charged in this 
Account, being met by proceeds from Pew Rents, 
Collections, and Voluntary Contributions. 

32,128 9 5 


SUM MARY Years 1902-7 (excluding Interest on Capital 

* * 

Balance, a deficiency from last account 2055 n 4 

Deduct surplus for 1907, as above .. .. .. 1042 II I 

Balance to next account .1013 o 3 

Surplus for year, excluding Interest on Capital Outlay 1042 1 1 i 


The above accounts are certainly clear and compre- 
hensive, and call for little remark. It will be observed 
that the price of the Village land works out at over 
;iooo an acre, as opposed to the 240 quoted in the 
early part of this chapter ; the difference is traceable 
partly to the enhanced cost of the additional land that 
was bought (a testimony to the improvement of ground 
values in the district), but mainly to the cost of trans- 
forming the older part of the estate into an inhabitable 

The cost of the cottages is also interesting ; if we 
allow for Bridge Inn and the extra expenditure on 
shops, we find that the 720 houses in Port Sunlight 
cost on an average about .385 each ; this bears out 
the calculations made in the early part of this chapter, 
and is worthy of notice though it does not take into 
account the two types, kitchen and parlour houses. 

The schools have, on the whole, been very cheap ; 
their cost works out at 23 los. per school place, which 
is not in itself low, but if we take into account their 
spaciousness and beauty we cannot but think that their 
price is very moderate indeed. It is enough to recall 
that the total capital outlay amounts to close on 
5 00,000, and to point out that the church and the 
technical institute are not included in this figure 
before we pass on to the far more important and 
interesting maintenance account. 

The income and expenditure account is the test, 
and by it the scheme must stand or fall : either it can 
pay its way and thus justify its existence or it can do 
no better than accumulate deficit on deficit and so 
brand the enterprise as a failure. Let us, therefore, 
examine the items with care. The first is that of 



repairs. These account for over 1600 ; as beautifying 
is nowadays a small matter it is beyond doubt too 
high. I have stated above the dilemma in which the 
Company was placed : it had either to leave the repairs 
to the tenants and endanger the beauty of the Village 
or undertake them itself and see them increase. The 
second alternative has been accepted, and, I think, 
rightly ; even if the tenants do not for many years 
complete their education in solidarity, an education 
which will make them realize that their economies and 
those of their neighbours are all for the common good, 
it is important to preserve for the Village its external 
beauty. Besides, the inhabitants are beginning to 
realize how much scope there is for a reduction in 
repairs ; at present they amount to almost 20 per cent, 
of the rent roll, a figure which any estate agent will 
agree is extremely high : with the facilities that exist 
in the Works for an organization on a large scale it 
should be about 10 per cent. A reduction of this 
item to its proper level will make for a great improve- 
ment in the Village accounts, and when these are in 
a sufficiently strong position will allow a reduction in 
the rents of 6d. to gd. per week. 

The upkeep of parks, gardens, schools, institute, 
and of certain Village institutions amounts altogether to 
^1119 ; this is not a very large figure, but it is likely 
to increase somewhat later on. As the finances of the 
Village improve, the other institutions, such as the 
Collegium,* will become dependent on this account ; 
it is important that the Village should become entirely 
self-supporting, and it is therefore desirable that every 
expense connected with its upkeep should be defrayed 
* Formerly Girls' Institute. 


before there is any talk of reduction of rents. The out- 
look as regards this question is dealt with in Chapter X., 
as is also the contribution of .24,680 los. yd. As 
regards depreciation it is enough to note that the 
estimates are prudent, for the account provides for 
amortization of the capital cost of the houses within 
one hundred years, and of the furniture within ten years ; 
there is every reason to expect that another decade or 
so will show that the cost of the houses is being fully 
redeemed, and this will strengthen the position still 

The upshot of the foregoing analysis is, therefore, 
that last year showed a profit on maintenance account 
of over ;iooo, and that the deficiency resulting from 
the last five years' working has been reduced to a little 
over 1000 ; thus the probability is that at the end of 
1908 the Village account will show a credit balance. 
It is already self-supporting, and it will then be in a 
position to improve still further the lot of the tenants. 
I assume, of course, that the " interest contribution " is 
permanent, for it modifies the rents to a large extent. 
If the Village were to be kept up exactly as it is, repay 
capital and interest, etc., the rents would have to be 
raised, but this, of course, is not a commercial pro- 
position, for it would frustrate the essential objects of 
the scheme. 

As it is, however, the Village may be considered as 
self-supporting, and I do not think that it is ever likely 
to become a further charge upon the funds of the 
Company. Indeed, if more houses are built, its success 
is likely to be still greater, for fixed charges will then 
be spread over a larger rent roll, and the Village 
institutions will become independent of the parent 


account. At present the Village is growing, as it has 
done from the beginning. Though the increases of 
population in the last two or three years do not 
absolutely correspond to an increase in houseroom, 
they are a fair index of the growth of the Village. 

Year Estimated population 

1900 .. .. .. .. 2007 

1901 .. .. .. .. 2331 

1902 .. .. .. .. 2484 

1903 .. 2580 

1904 .. .. .. .. 2610 

1905 .. .. .. "/ 2700 

1906 .. .. .. .. 2900 

1907 .. .. .. .. 3600 

It will be seen that the population has increased in 
seven years by exactly 50 per cent, which is far from 
unsatisfactory. In view of the number of applications 
received by the estate office, it will probably be 
necessary very soon to resume building operations, 
when we may expect the population to increase at a 
still more rapid rate ; at present all vacant houses are 
applied for, and it is rare that they remain empty 
longer than a fortnight, which is sufficient testimony 
to their popularity. 

ALLOTMENTS. Before dismissing the Village itself 
reference should be made to that feature which enables 
us to class it specifically among the garden cities, viz. 
allotments for the inhabitants. These little plots, of 
which there are but too few in country districts (about 
one million acres altogether in the United Kingdom 
in plots smaller than one acre), are practically un- 
known in little towns of three thousand and six 


hundred inhabitants. At Port Sunlight the import- 
ance of affording scope for healthful, as well as re- 
munerative, employment of the people's leisure has 
not been lost sight of. There is a good deal of vacant 
land, and most of it will not be built on, either because 
it is on too steep a slope or because the proportion of 
building to open land must be maintained ; the dells 
and the central portions of the building sections are 
ideally suited for allotments. It is now hardly 
necessary to defend the view that labour on the land 
is a healthful change for a man who is confined during 
the day within a factory, however well ventilated it 
may be. It may be said that he will be too tired to 
do much work in addition to his daily eight hours, but 
experience shows that rest is found in change rather 
than in idleness ; at any rate, the Sunlighters do not 
appear to despise allotments as a form of recreation, 
for at the time of my last visit there was hardly a 
vacant plot. 

Allotments are granted by the estate at the rate of 
ten perches for every householder, and those who have 
the leisure to cultivate a larger area may have a double 
plot. In some cases men who have large families are 
well able, with the help of their children, to run twenty 
perches, and it is perhaps in the influence of agricultural 
work upon the children that the essential value of the 
scheme may be found. The allotments are let on a 
commercial basis, at the rate of $s. per annum, includ- 
ing water for irrigation, which costs 2s. 6d. per allot- 
ment ; this brings out the net rent per acre at about 
2 per annum. Yet there is evidence that the margin 
of profit !s adequate, for no less than two hundred and 
fifty men have taken up land, a considerable number 


in a village of seven hundred and twenty houses. It is 
difficult to say what the average gross yield is, but 
most of the plots produce 4 to $ per annum, some 
as much as 7 or 8 where early vegetables are raised 
under glass, and a few, the occupiers of which grow 
flowers, a good deal more. Thus most of the allot- 
ment holders make as much as 2s. a week (labour 
being recreation) ; these weekly two shillings have their 
importance in such small budgets as those of the Sun- 
lighters, especially as this money is earned in kind, 
and is therefore a generous two shillings worth ; more- 
over, it is earned by pleasant employment of leisure 
time, and by forswearing more costly amusements. 
The labour entailed by an allotment amounts to about 
two hours per diem from March to September, and a 
day a month during the winter. Profits are increased 
in many cases by poultry and bee-keeping. 

The allotment holders mostly consume the produce 
of their land, which accounts for the difficulty there 
is in estimating yields ; this, however, is a condition 
of success in small holdings, for it secures for the 
grower the profits of carrier, middleman, and retailer, 
which are a charge on the produce he sells. Partly 
for this reason, and partly because the plots are very 
carefully cultivated, the gross yields of Port Sunlight 
land compare very favourably with those of neigh- 
bouring farms. I am aware that it is not quite fair 
to contrast' a hundred-acre farm with an allotment 
of a sixteenth of an acre when the former grows 
mainly wheat or grass and the latter vegetables, but 
it is possible to compare the Port Sunlight vegetable 
allotment with neighbouring swede or potato land. 
It is extremely difficult to obtain figures as to the 


[Tofacep, 102. 


productivity of land, for farmers naturally conceal 
them (in those years when they are not being 
"ruined") for fear of seeing rents rise. Yet I 
was informed by land agents controlling some 3000 
acres in the neighbourhood of Birkenhead that agri- 
cultural rents varied between 35^. and 50^. per acre, 
that they sometimes fell to 30^. an acre and that 2 
was a very fair average ; the figure of 2 net for Port 
Sunlight allotments is therefore evidence that the 
splitting up of farms may be to the landlord's 
advantage.* The tenant may, however, benefit to 
a still greater extent. Gross yields in Cheshire 
average 6 to 7 for good land ; a few fields have 
produced 10 per acre under potatoes, but those 
instances are unfortunately rare : thus, it appears 
that, as the vegetable allotments at Port Sunlight 
produce on an average 4. to $ for a sixteenth of an 
acre, or 60 to 80 per acre, the Port Sunlight average 
is quite seven times higher than one of the local records 
for productivity. This is not an unusual case, for 
in many parts of the country we find small holdings 
producing anything between three and twelve times 
as much as the surrounding land, but it is interesting 
to note it in view of the hostility manifested in various 
quarters by great landowners to the Small Holdings 
and Allotments Act (1907). 

In addition to the allotments an interesting 
development of natural education is the " Children's 
Gardens" scheme. About a hundred small plots 
have been taken up by Port Sunlight boys and 
girls, and they are encouraged by a skilled instructor 

* For encouragement to allotment holders, see Horticultural Society 
(Chapter VII.). 


to take an interest in agricultural work. In addition, 
they are supplied with seeds at cost price and further 
helped by having their land dug. I would say, in 
this connection, that there appears to be a good deal 
of scope at Port Sunlight for increased facilities ; at 
present the men purchase their seeds, tools, manure, 
etc., either from outsiders or from the store. If the 
store could keep all necessary articles in stock the 
arrangement might be fairly satisfactory, even if 
inferior to a special agricultural co-operative society, 
but owing to lack of space it cannot do so and profits 
go to outsiders. Since profits, though small, can 
actually be made out of such restricted areas it appears 
important to further at once the progress of a move- 
ment which has already rescued Irish dairy farming, 
placed Danish and Belgian agriculture on a pinnacle and 
shown us nearer at home at Bewdley, at Framling- 
ham, at Catshill, etc. that mutual help and confidence 
can restore prosperity to the English country-side. 



THE reader will have gathered from the preceding 
chapters that at Port Sunlight the conditions of life 
are likely to be agreeable, as agreeable at least as 
they can be made by work under the best of condi- 
tions, and housing both adequate and aesthetic. The 
joy of life is, however, bound up rather with the 
superfluous than with the necessary, so that Arcadia, 
ventilated and drained on the most scientific principles, 
would fall short of Utopia if the flowers of intellect 
and amity did not flourish within its pleasance. It is 
true that the essential charms of Port Sunlight are 
found by the fireside, and that life there is pre- 
eminently a story of the peaceful pleasures of home ; 
it is, however, also true that without something to 
link together the inhabitants much of the object of 
the founder would have been missed. 

Without its institutions Port Sunlight would not 
stand out so markedly as it does from among 
industrial villages ; it could still boast of fine Works 
and good cottages, but it could not claim to have 
influenced directly the social habits of the people. 
To teach sobriety, cleanliness, and respect for the 
Law, something more is wanted than a good cottage. 


For many men and women, especially if they are 
not so overworked as to desire no more than rest, 
the pleasures of the home do not suffice. If the 
people are to be rescued from drunkenness and 
immorality, the Good must fight the Evil with its 
own weapons and beat it at its own game. Why 
should the devil have all the good tunes ? asked 
General Booth, and in the answer to that question 
we find the keynote of a social policy. The Church 
and the Chapel can and do achieve great work, but 
beyond their reach there lies an immense mass of 
our people by whose ears spiritual appeals remain 
unheard. To the low-class music hall we must 
oppose the theatre ; to the drinking den we must 
oppose the ballroom, the concert hall, and the lecture 
room. It is only by giving pleasure for pleasure, 
and good measure of it, that we can hope to regain 
the ground lost by the beautiful and the pure. 

Apart from such theoretical considerations it must 
be obvious that Port Sunlight could not hope to be 
a success unless the people, had many opportunities 
of occupying their minds with sports and pastimes ; 
it would be false to its educational principle if it 
only sought to make them comfortable, if it did not 
encourage them to develop their faculties and live 
to the full. Indeed, I am not sure that a population 
among whom an abnormal standard of comfort pre- 
vailed abnormal that is in regard to its anterior 
conditions without its intellectual standards rising 
at the same time, would not deteriorate and end 
like Stevenson's married man, by being so comfort- 
able and happy as to begin to prefer comfort and 
happiness to everything else on earth. For that 


reason, particularly in a community which, like Port 
Sunlight, is neither rural nor urban, and has no great 
natural resources in the neighbourhood, it has been 
necessary to develop local organizations capable of 
ministering both to the needs and the pleasures of 
the people. 

It has been said that Port Sunlight is neither rural 
nor urban ; it is not urban as we understand the term, 
for it is not a conglomeration of houses, fine in some 
parts, mean in others, dotted here and there with 
frigid public institutions, and rich mainly in those 
places where gross pleasures may be bought cheap. 
It must needs, therefore, rely upon itself for its 
pleasures, for it cannot go far afield in search of them. 
On the other hand, Port Sunlight is not rural, in so 
far as a village is rural, for it is too large, too active, 
and too young a community. Yet, as it has certain 
characteristics both of the village and of the town, it 
has to fear the perils of both, and the worst of these is 
boredom with the evils born of it, the idleness that 
drives the town worker into the public-house, the farm 
labourer into the city slum. How Port Sunlight is 
coping with these dangers by means both public and 
private will be realized from the following sketch of 
the institutions at work within the confines of the 

The public institutions comprise buildings and 
organizations such as are found in every community ; 
the private institutions, controlled more directly by 
those who benefit by them, partake mainly of the 
nature of societies. The former minister to the in- 
tellectual development, and to the collective needs, of 
the people, the latter to their social pleasures ; of the 


first class are the church, the public-house, the hospital, 
etc. ; of the second class the various societies that have 
been formed for mutual entertainment and intercourse. 
It will be seen that it is difficult in classifying to avoid 
overlapping, for such institutions as the Auditorium 
and the Collegium might as well be placed in the second 
as in the first class, but there is the question of control. 
In the first class, therefore, we find those institutions 
which are more directly connected with and controlled 
by the Company, viz. the Auditorium, the Collegium, 
Bridge Inn, the Library and Museum, and the Hospital. 
In the second class are the Church and Sunday 
schools, athletic, literary, scientific, provident, and 
philanthropic societies (conducted as a rule exclusively 
by the employees), and the shops. 

Both classes of institutions serve to link the people 
together, to promote friendliness and sociability, to 
make, briefly, life worth living as a life. They differ 
in so far as the first class comprises all the public 
buildings, but the objects of the two are fundamentally 
alike, so that it is possible to group them all under a 
common heading. Most of these institutions are, 
however, characteristic, so a short description of some 
of them will be interesting. 

CHRIST CHURCH. In the front rank of Port 
Sunlight institutions we find the church. In a 
community of some 3600 persons, where it is likely 
that a dozen denominations are represented, this might 
well have been a vexed question, and it is mainly 
because there is no religious trouble at Port Sunlight 
that it is important to go into the matter. For some 
unknown reason there have never been any religious 
difficulties at Port Sunlight, even in the very early 



days when services were held in Gladstone Hall and 
in the schools ; a spirit of friendliness and tolerance 
appeared to reign, and peace has never been broken to 
this day. This spirit seems to have survived even the 
construction of a Congregational church, which bears 
eloquent witness to the good feeling that prevails. 
In the early days undenominational services were 
attended by persons professing various creeds, and the 
first congregations of the Church numbered among 
them about equal proportions of Churchmen and 
Nonconformists. This has continued to this day. 
A Roman Catholic chapel stands on the: outskirts of 
the Village. The Wesleyans have also a place of 
worship ; many of them still attend occasionally at 
Christ Church. There is a small Church of England 
chapel on the estate, and many more on the out- 
skirts, Wesleyan and Presbyterian chapels being also 
fairly numerous. It will thus be seen from the fore- 
going that the Port Sunlighter is not placed in the 
predicament of having to accept local facilities or be 
deprived of religious teaching : his choice is entirely 
free. Christ Church being now Congregational, the 
building itself is vested in the Congregational Union, 
so as to prevent its ever falling into the hands of any 
other denomination ; the minister must of course be 
approved by that body and appointed by Church 
members. The service book in use was compiled 
by a committee of 14, elected by ballot among the 
male worshippers ; singularly enough, 7 out of the 
first 14 representatives belonged to the Church of 
England, as a result of which the form of service is 
to this day very largely based on the services of the 
Established Church. The Church now draws its 


resources from the seat-holders, each of whom pays as 
much as he thinks fit ; as yet there is no endowment, 
which is perhaps as well, as every member is thus im- 
pelled to take a personal interest in the Church ; there 
are, of course, some free seats in one of the transepts. 
Christ Church accommodates 600 worshippers, and at 
a pinch 800, or even 900. Before dismissing the sub- 
ject it should be mentioned that the congregation 
of Christ Church includes, in addition to members 
of the Anglican and the various Nonconformist 
Churches, a few Unitarians and some Agnostics ; 
during the seven years of the late minister's pastorate 
there was no sign of a dispute. This is remarkable, 
for religious feeling runs so high in the district that 
parliamentary elections are sometimes to a great 
extent fought on dogmatic issues * and that many 
advertisements for servants in the neighbourhood 
stipulate that applicants must profess a given religion ! 

Apart from its value as a spiritual agent, Christ 
Church is an object of beauty, for it is one of the most 
perfectly designed modern churches that have been 
erected in England. In style it is early perpendicular, 
pure and somewhat austere in its lines, rich in a sim- 
plicity relieved by the choice of the material out of 
which it is built : red sandstone, perfectly smooth, 
warm and grateful to the eye. Set in the midst of 
green fields and bounded by deep grass-grown dells, 
the squat tower of Christ Church gives to the traveller 
as pleasant a greeting as he would receive from the 
grave and ivy-clad church of a lonely village. 

THE AUDITORIUM. Leaving aside religion and 
religious matters, we find among the public buildings 
* Kirkdale division of Liverpool, 1908. 


\Tofacep. no. 


an institution of some originality, the Auditorium, 
which was once an open-air theatre. Originally it 
was planned to occupy the slopes of one of the dells, 
round which an arena was built, rising in tiers round 
a stage which was to occupy the greater part of one 
end. This was a fascinating scheme, and it suggested 
great possibilities of education and refinement for the 
people ; it pointed above all to the rescue of the stage 
from the vulgarity and the puerility into which it is 
too often plunged. Unfortunately the English climate 
is no respecter of institutions, so that the example of 
Rome and Nimes was reluctantly abandoned, and in 
1906 the Auditorium was roofed in. Diverted from its 
original objects, however, the Auditorium is a very fine 
hall, the floor space of which alone is about 80 feet 
long by 40 broad. At present it is a theatre and 
dancing hall with a parquet floor. The hall easily 
accommodates 250 couples ; when it is desired to 
convert it into a concert room or a theatre chairs can 
be put in, which brings the total seating capacity to 
2500 persons. There is no rake, but the stage at the 
end is raised, and there is a good view of it from every 
part of the hall ; in front of the stage is a sunken 
orchestra as in an ordinary theatre. The roof is 
mainly glass and provided with broad slides, so that 
ventilation is perfect ; in addition there are large 
windows all along the upper part, and provision is 
made for pumping air, cooled or warmed according 
to the season, by means of electric fans. There are 
five exits ; all the doors open outwards. Behind and 
above the stage are a well-fitted green room and 
dressing-rooms for the actors of both sexes. Below 
the stage is a large store of scenery, most of which 


reproduces Village streets ; this is used by travelling 

It will be seen from the foregoing that the Auditorium 
leaves little to be desired as a hall for entertainments, 
either as regards size or facilities ; it is difficult to 
convey an idea of the beauty of its design or to under- 
stand its appeal until one has seen it rilled with 
dancers. The balls are the great nights for the 
Auditorium ; travelling theatrical companies come 
from time to time, but less often than they did at 
the inception, for they are not extensively patronized 
by the villagers. The hall is decidedly large, expen- 
sive to light and to warm ; it is used occasionally for 
the purpose, also for concerts and political meetings, 
but its principal use is for dances. Some of these are 
arranged by the employees themselves, but the largest 
are given by the Company. During the winter weekly 
dances are planned in such a manner that every girl 
employed at the Works is invited twice. Girls over 
eighteen may submit the names of men to the social 
department, which issues invitations to them unless 
there be reasons that militate against them. I do not 
know how often the choice of the girls is vetoed, but 
I understand that the veto is unusual. At any rate, 
the present social secretary is certainly well fitted to 
be a liberal and tactful discriminator. Besides, he is 
not the sole authority ; these dances are controlled by 
a committee, half of whose members are foremen and 
forewomen and half employees ; thus private grievances 
are not likely to influence the arrangements for the 
dances, which are exceedingly popular and invariably 
crowded. Girls under eighteen are provided with 
partners by the Company. The friendliness and order 

THE PARSONAGE, ETC. [To face p. 112. 


that prevails in them is a feature of Port Sunlight, and 
is commented on more fully in the chapter dealing 
with the spirit that reigns in the Village. 

THE COLLEGIUM. In many respects the Collegium 
(or Girls' Institute, as it was formerly called) is more 
suitable for general purposes than is the Auditorium. 
It is much smaller, and only comprises the upper floor 
of the stores and the adjacent block. It is really a 
very large room with a white wainscoting and light 
green paper, a pleasant relief being produced by heavy 
oak beams ; the walls are covered with pictures, and 
the general effect completed by a floor of polished 
boards. Here again the visitor is struck by the large 
French windows, which practically cut out the walls 
at either end and flood the room with light and air. 

At one end is a good platform large enough for 
several speakers, so that the building can be used for 
small meetings and lectures ; the Mutual Improvement 
Society, among others, meets there regularly about 
once a week. Classes and drills (mainly of the Boys' 
Brigade) take place there, and also small dances, so 
that the Collegium fills a rather important role in the 
Port Sunlight scheme ; during the winter months it is 
engaged practically every night. The room is large 
enough to seat two hundred, or to accommodate fifty 
couples with ease ; dances are organized there about 
once a month by the various clubs, the cost being about 
3^. 6d. per couple. These dances are remarkably 
bright and successful ; the girls are in high dresses, 
but a number of the men wear evening dress. 

On the whole the Collegium is more convenient 
than the Auditorium, though it does not serve so many 
purposes ; the Auditorium could be spared, but the 


Collegium is practically a necessity. Probably a 
slightly larger hall, say half the size of the Auditorium, 
would also be useful, for Hulme Hall is rather incon- 
venient, owing to the necessity of shifting tables and 

BRIDGE INN. By this time the reader will have 
realized that the resources of the one institution most 
in request in English villages are not overtaxed : I 
mean the public-house. It is unfortunately too true 
that the poor opportunities of relaxation enjoyed by 
town workers are almost entirely absent in the country, 
where the labourer in search of society is absolutely 
driven to the local inn. In Port Sunlight, village 
though it may be, facilities for amusement are so 
numerous that a single licence has been found suffi- 
cient. This is interesting in the light of recent 
developments in licensing reform ; there never was 
any serious opposition to the scale laid down by Mr. 
Asquith when introducing the Licensing Bill in 1908, 
and it is interesting to compare its standard with that 
which prevails at Port Sunlight. Here we find a 
community of some 3600 persons settled on an area of 
about 132 acres, i.e. about 27 persons per acre ; under 
Mr. Asquith's scheme Port Sunlight would be placed 
in Class C of the schedule (26 to 50 persons per acre), 
and would then be entitled to one on-licence for every 
600 persons, or six licences altogether. In view of 
this fact, it is interesting to note that Port Sunlight 
seems adequately provided for by one-sixth of the 
licensed house accommodation allowed even on a 
reduced scale. We must, of course, not lose sight of 
the fact that there are a good many licensed houses 
in the neighbourhood, but a visit to Bridge Inn is 


convincing proof that the people of the Village do not 
frequent it. 

If Bridge Inn is not a haunt of the villagers it is 
certainly not because it is not pleasant ; it is not too 
much to say that it is the prettiest and most comfort- 
able building in the Village. Moreover, it combines 
all the attractions of a first-class inn with low prices ; 
this is important from the point of view of temperance, 
for it would not be good to think that the deserted 
condition of the inn (in the evening), to which I 
can bear full witness, is caused by high prices which 
only drive men into neighbouring, lower-class houses. 
Bridge Inn, as its name indicates, is situated at one 
end of the bridge that crosses the deepest dell on the 
east. It consists of a central portion with two pro- 
jecting wings ; it is built of grey stone, and has a 
fanciful pointed roof, but the greatest of its charms 
lies in the fact that the courtyard formed by the wings 
is overlooked from the first floor by a wooden gallery 
running entirely round the yard in the style dear to 
Mr. Pickwick. Bridge Inn, though fitted with a bar 
and a smoking-room, is really a restaurant ; one large 
room_ is devoted to a table d'hote, and is mainly used 
by tourists, whilst another in the same wing is used as 
a cheap dining-room by some of the Factory workers 
and by employees of outside firms, such as carters, etc. 
About 200 men on an average are served every day 
in this room ; the prices are low and accessible to the 
artisan : hot-pot, $d. ; joint and vegetables, 6d. ; vege- 
tables, tea, or coffee, id. This institution is a useful 
accessory to Gladstone Hall, and goes some little way 
towards fulfilling the catering requirement I indicated 
with reference to it 


Bridge Inn was conducted as a temperance house 
from October, 1900, to February, 1903. Little by 
little, however, the feeling grew in the Village that it 
should have a licence, and in July, 1902, a meeting 
was held to discuss the matter ; some 300 villagers 
were present, and after some controversy a vote was 
taken, which resulted in 207 voting in favour of a 
licence and 70 against it. Mr. Lever had, however, 
stipulated a three-fourths majority, as he had serious 
misgivings as to the advisability of introducing licensed 
premises into the Port Sunlight scheme ; it was there- 
fore decided to submit the proposal to the test of the 
referendum, every adult male and female resident in 
the Village being given a vote. The campaign was 
rather too short, only two days, so that the temperance 
organizations did not have time to oppose the proposal ; 
it was accordingly carried by 472 votes against 120. 
I mention this in detail because it embodies the prin- 
ciple of local option. The licence was accordingly 
granted to the Liverpool and District Trust Company, 
Limited, who began operations in May, 1903. It is 
by now certain that there has never been any reason 
to regret its establishment ; indeed, that Bridge Inn 
has improved local conditions, for it attracted in the 
early days those who formerly left the Village to drink, 
so much so that they have almost lost the public-house 
habit. The sobriety of the people is remarkable ; I 
passed several " Saturday nights " in the Village 
without seeing a single drunken man : in how many 
industrial communities could one do the same ? 

For various reasons the Trust public-house was 
not successful, although many of these houses are well 
supported in other districts. This was in a sense 


unfortunate, not so much because the inn fell once 
more into the hands of individuals, for Port Sunlight 
is not a pirate community, as that it ceased to be 
under public control. Under the Trust regime two 
out of six managers were elected by the villagers and 
four nominated by the Company ; nowadays the six 
managers are all nominated, and there is no public 
control ; however, Bridge Inn is doing well under 
a salaried man, and it is certainly a condition of tem- 
perance that it should not be run at a loss. The 
inception period (beginning in September, 1905) being 
now over, it is expected that the inn will shortly begin 
to show a credit balance which will go to the relief 
of the Village account. The only criticism that can 
be levelled at the inn is that there are no billiards ; 
comfortable as it is, particularly as regards the smoking- 
room, it still needs this addition to make it truly the 
poor man's club. It has a six days' licence, and closes 
at 1 1 P.M. 

THE LIBRARY. It will be seen further on that 
counter attractions to the charms of Bridge Inn are not 
wanting in Port Sunlight ; one of them is the combined 
library and museum. These two institutions share a 
block of cottages, the remainder of which accommo- 
dates the Collegium, the Employees' Provident Society, 
and the post-office. The museum is large, made up 
of the upper parts of about six houses, and lit as usual 
by broad roof windows ; it is rich in interesting exhibits, 
most of which have been given or lent by Mr. W. H. 
Lever. They comprise mainly old pewter and watches, 
old English china, armour, antique furniture, Egyptian 
curios, and articles de vertu ; we must not forget the 
bugle that sounded the charge of the Light Brigade 


and, an obvious feature at Port Sunlight, a large 
chemical exhibition. Attached to the latter is a special 
reading and workroom where the apprentices may 
consult text books and study every evening after 
hours. The museum is much appreciated, but it 
suffers from lack of pictures ; the educational value of 
the beautiful is, in the early stages, limited by its 
obviousness : thus a few prints after Rossetti or some 
of the old English masters would be very welcome. 

The library is of course the more popular of the 
two institutions ; it is very large and has two reading- 
rooms, one for men and the other for women. Its 
shelves are well rilled, for it already has four thousand 
volumes, of which half are fiction, and it is still buying ; 
no newspapers are found there, but eight or nine 
magazines are kept in the reading-rooms. So as to 
give the people some personal interest in the institu- 
tion the rule has been established that they must 
become members ; as the subscription is only 2d. 
per annum it is not extraordinary that they should 
number some seven hundred ; this subscription includes 
the use of the lending library. I mentioned above 
that half the library consisted of fiction. This is 
perhaps unfortunate, though novels have an educational 
value for those who, failing novels, would read penny 
dreadfuls ; but it is worth noting that about one-half of 
the members read exclusively serious books ; these 
are mainly historical, scientific or artistic : such books 
as the " Life of Lord Randolph Churchill " or " Modern 
Egypt " are usually bought as soon as published. The 
library lends out about twenty-five thousand volumes 
every year. There is also a good reference library 
containing a number of technical works which must be 


useful to the artisans and apprentices. The only 
fault that can be found with both these institutions is 
one to which I shall again have to allude, viz. that 
they are closed on Sundays. It is obvious that the 
staff must have a day of rest, but the value of educa- 
tional and social institutions is a good deal impaired 
by Sunday closing, when the very people who most 
need help are thrown on their own, and often scanty, 
resources ; one wonders whether the enthusiasm that 
animates so many religious workers to sacrifice so 
much of their leisure could not be used in a body of 
"Sabbath Workers" whose self-imposed mission it 
would be to minister to the innocent pleasures of their 
fellows on the day of idleness, when, as the proverb 
says, the devil often finds so much work to do. 
Such a movement is well worth initiating even if it 
should fly in the face of prejudice. 

THE COTTAGE HOSPITAL. The last of the public 
institutions is the hospital, or rather cottage hospital 
as it is rightly called. It accommodates only fourteen 
patients, by means of twelve beds and two cots, but it 
is in miniature a perfect replica of our most modern 
urban hospitals ; indeed, to describe it is to run the 
risk of praising it overmuch, so complete in every way 
are its arrangements and so intelligent is its planning. 
The building itself would have been graceful if the 
architect had not thought fit to run his chimneys up 
like smokestacks; on the whole, however, its light 
grey, rough-cast walls, casemented windows, and green 
shutters form a pretty picture. It is set on high 
ground and surrounded on every side by large open 
spaces, the football field and a well-wooded dell. 
It has a fairly large garden facing due south. The 


interior arrangements are spacious, I should say 
wastefully so, if space were not so cheap at Port Sunlight 
that all may enjoy the blessing of it. There are two 
wards, one for either sex, a surgery, waiting-room, a 
conservatory, a large staff room and a dining-room for 
the nurses, a special kitchen, nurses' rooms and doctor's 

The Port Sunlight wards are in themselves the 
best of their kind ; they are exceedingly spacious and 
not less than fifteen feet high ; the windows might 
have been larger and the small panes done away with, 
for they accumulate dirt: that is my one adverse 
criticism. The floors are wood blocks and the walls 
are distempered, so that the entire surface can be 
drenched ; indeed this passion for cleanliness is simply 
obtrusive : the floors of the corridors are tiled, the 
tables glass-topped ; even the patients' lockers are 
washable ; all floor and wall angles are rounded so 
that dust cannot collect. Ventilation is of course 
excellent ; air is forced in after being either dried or 
moistened, warmed or cooled ; all heating is done by 
steam. Everywhere are evidences of the love of 
comfort : the waiting-room is supplied with mahogany 
chairs ; the baths (compulsory) are equal to those of a 
first-class hotel ; the patients are provided with a 
conservatory facing south, where the women can sit 
and the men smoke. Provisions against fire are also 
complete, for hose and nozzles light enough to be 
used by women are supplied and the nurses are 
drilled every month. 

The staff comprises the doctor (who lives on the 
premises and controls the ambulance corps), the 
matron, one staff nurse, and two nurses ; there are 

THE POST-OFFICE. [To face p. I2O. 


also three maids, another evidence of the esteem in 
which cleanliness is held. As a result cases are quickly 
disposed of, and it is not often that the hospital is full. 
Of course no charges are made. It may be remarked 
incidentally that such revelations of dirt as are frequent 
on the admission of patients to city institutions are not 
usual in Port Sunlight ; I was informed at the hospital 
that, although the people are not as clean as the 
ubiquitous bathroom should make them, their standard 
is far superior to that attained by London, Manchester, 
and other industrial centres, a welcome fact, but one 
which should be the normal result of the improved 
conditions of the workers. 

Before passing on to the institutions that more 
directly concern the employees, mention should be 
made of the shops, because they (or the buildings 
that contain them) are the property of the Company. 
There are not many shops at Port Sunlight, as the 
Employees' Provident Society (or co-operative society) 
caters for the immediate needs of the inhabitants ; 
there are also various shops at Bebington and New 
Ferry. In the Village itself, in addition to the keepers 
of the store and post - office, there are only four 
tradesmen a butcher, a hairdresser, a draper, and a 
newsagent. There is nothing to mention of special 
interest, except that the buildings are more sightly 
and the interiors cleaner than those which we usually 
find in villages and small towns. 



INTERESTING as the public buildings and larger 
institutions may be, the societies that are controlled 
solely by the men are perhaps of more importance, 
for in their development and prosperity we find the 
true evidences of intellectual health. It is beyond 
discussion that a community for which everything is 
done must deteriorate. So many institutions, among 
which those connected with the Works are the most 
important, are controlled by the Company, that it 
seems as if the Sunlighters must suffer. However, 
they have not done so : their social spirit is vigorous 
and their clubbable tendency is strong. 

I need not dilate upon the subject in general, for 
the best evidence of this lies in the following list of 
societies and institutions organized and controlled by 
the employees (it is roughly classified) : 

Boys' Brigade. 

Band of Hope. 

Young People's Temperance League. 

Anti-Cigarette League. 

National British Women's Temperance Association. 


Church Choir. 


Philharmonic Society. 

Orchestral Society. 

Silver Prize Band. 

International Bible Reading Association. 

Mutual Improvement Society. 

Scientific and Literary Society. 

Men's Social and Bowling Club. 

Horticultural Society. 

Chess Club. 

Football Clubs. 

Gymnastic Club. 

Swimming Club. 

Rifle Club. 

Tennis Club. 

Cycling Club. 

Maternal Aid Society. 

Women's Guild. 

Sick, Medical, and Funeral Aid Society. 

St. John's Ambulance Brigade Division. 

Clerks' Dining Club. 

Employees' Provident Society. 

This list does not include various school institu- 
tions and those connected with the Works ; apart 
from them, therefore, the people of Port Sunlight 
find time to run twenty-eight institutions, which is 
certainly a respectable number. Of the social spirit, 
which is strong, more is said in another chapter ; here 
we need not examine in detail all the various societies, 
but we must give particulars of a few of the more 
important or successful ones. 

THE GYMNASIUM. Among the athletic societies 
the gymnasium is certainly the most interesting. The 
building itself is very large, for it contains three halls, 


the smallest of which is forty feet long ; the largest 
can easily accommodate a hundred performers when 
display drills are given. Each hall is provided with 
full sets of apparatus in duplicate and in triplicate ; the 
object of this is to allow of boys, girls, and men being 
trained at the same time. The gymnasium is open 
to all (every night during the week) on payment of 
a yearly subscription of $s. 6d. for men, and 2s. for 
girls and boys ; non-residents and non-employees may 
join at a rate increased by is. 6d. This club is very 
successful, for it has a membership of over two hundred, 
of which ninety are girls ; its proficiency is above 
the ordinary, for I was informed that it had beaten 
Liverpool, the Balfour Institute, St. Saviour's, Everton, 
etc. I can well believe it after seeing the zest which 
both sexes display at the practices. The men are 
dressed, as a rule, in white vests and running shorts, 
the girls in smart blue and red serge costumes ; the 
musical drills executed by massed groups are bewilder- 
ing in their intricacy. 

The gymnasium also runs a basket-ball section, 
which is so popular that there are no less than eight 
teams. Its future is assured, for an instructor is pro- 
vided for the boys and girls ; I would mention here 
that attendance is not compulsory for the children. It 
is, of course, impossible to force them to come to the 
gymnasium so long as physical training is not part of 
the school curriculum, but a system of premiums, free 
membership, and prizes would certainly influence the 
youth of Port Sunlight for their greater benefit. 

THE SWIMMING CLUB. Another interesting in- 
stitution is the swimming club. The bath itself is well 
worthy of notice, for it enjoys the unusual distinction 


of being an open-air bath. This, though it has its 
disadvantages in a cold country, is certainly a step 
in the right direction, for none will deny that such 
vigorous exercise as swimming increases in value if 
it is taken in the open air. The Port Sunlight bath 
is a very good one, for it is some hundred feet long 
by seventy-five broad ; in shape, it is a rough oval ; in 
depth it varies between three feet three inches and 
seven feet three inches ; the water can be warmed as 
desired. Originally it was built for the sole use of the 
inhabitants of Port Sunlight, but it has since then 
been opened to outsiders joining the swimming club. 
In connection with the open-air bath is the strong 
Swimming and Life Saving Society, which has three 
hundred and fifty members, and is represented in the 
Northern Counties Association ; residents and em- 
ployees are admitted at a charge of is. per annum, 
non-residents at 2s., children at half fees. All the 
members may be trained not only in swimming but in 
life-saving and water-polo. This game is much in 
favour, and the Port Sunlight team won last year no 
less than eight out of eleven contested matches. 

THE CLUB. While athletics are at a premium in 
Port Sunlight, educational and social institutions are 
equally well supported by the older men. The most 
important of these is probably the men's social and 
bowling club, better known in the Village as " The 
Club." This is a fairly large building in the early 
English style, standing in its own grounds, and pro- 
vided with a bowling-green and a quoiting-field ; it 
takes up altogether about an acre and a-half. The 
ground floor is occupied by the reading-room, where 
some half-dozen dailies and twenty or thirty weeklies 


are kept. I noted with some pleasure that the selec- 
tion was so thoroughly catholic that The Freethinker 
rubbed shoulders with The Christian World. In this 
room cards and chess may be played, but not for 
money. Upstairs there is a billiard-room with tables 
large enough for a comfortable lounge. Full member- 
ship is open to residents and employees for $s. per 
annum, or membership of either the reading-room, the 
bowling-green, or the chess room for 2s. 6d. ; there are 
about one hundred and twenty members. This in- 
stitution is entirely self-supporting ; but it pays no 
rent for the use of the grounds or building, defrays 
the cost of lighting, heating, newspapers, etc., and 
engages its own caretaker ; in spite of its small budget 
it makes ends meet. These are important facts, for 
it is not desirable that clubs should depend on an 
employer ; at present the club pays its way fully. The 
club is open daily for about seven hours (Saturdays 
ten and a half), but it is closed on Sundays ; no 
alcoholics are sold, but only temperance drinks. 

On the whole the club is well worthy of notice as 
well for its many good points as for its serious failings. 
On the other hand, it is remarkable for its orderliness ; 
for the way in which fifty or sixty men at a time seem 
to find there recreation without brawls or evil language ; 
for the democratic spirit that reigns in it, and unites in 
their games foremen and labourers of all grades. This, 
in fact, is for the visitor the principal attraction of the 
club, for it shows that men in different positions can 
mix successfully, and be drawn together for their 
mutual benefit. On the other hand, the club shows 
two serious defects, and it is likely that if they were 
corrected the membership would go up by leaps and 




\_Tofacep. 126. 


bounds ; the one is Sunday closing, and the other 
temperance. I do not plead against Sunday closing 
in general, but it is indisputable that certain institu- 
tions and trades must be exempted, and that, in those 
cases, we must substitute "one day's rest in seven" 
for " the seventh day." The principal value of a club 
lies in the fact that it is a home ever open to the 
member who is away from his dwelling, or in want of 
a change of scene ; to give him an opportunity of 
amusement in the evening is well, but to leave on his 
hands the one day that is entirely his, a day which 
may be wet, lonely, or dull, that is bad, for the essential 
functions of a club are stultified. Whether Sunday 
opening can be provided for by voluntary effort or by 
extra help I do not pretend to say, but it seems that a 
club numbering one hundred and twenty members 
could arrange for one member to replace the caretaker 
every Sunday, when each member would, by means of 
the sacrifice of one Sunday in about two years, secure 
for himself the freedom of the club for the other one 
hundred odd Sundays. 

The other weakness of the club is the fact that no 
alcoholic liquor is supplied ; this is not a pleasant 
remark for a temperance worker to have to make, but 
no one can be blind to the fact that people will have in- 
toxicants, and that they : will go in great numbers where 
these are sold. The question then arises : are we to 
let the public-house entice away to extravagance and 
debauchery men whom we might have retained by 
allowing them reasonable facilities ? It is quite true 
that many public-houses are orderly, and that many 
clubs are drinking hells, but surely it is not beyond 
the power of a disinterested institution to enforce 


moderation upon its members by expelling any man 
who abused his liberty. It is not good to allow the 
Puritan spirit, which has made England great, but has 
also made it in some respects hard and narrow, to 
interfere with the enjoyment of the ordinary good 
things of life and, worse still, to drive to vicious 
pleasures those whom it desired to cure by un- 
sympathetic force, and in spite of themselves. I 
speak strongly in this case, but it is hard to see an 
institution rich in so many possibilities hampered and 
hindered in its usefulness by being deprived of the 
common privileges of freedom. 

institution deserving of all praise, on the other hand, 
is the Mutual Improvement Society, the aim of which 
is " to promote a truly fraternal spirit among the 
residents and employees of Port Sunlight." The 
society pursues this object by means of a course of 
lectures from October to March, broken by socials, 
evenings with the poets, etc. It is accessible at the 
low rate of I s. per annum, and has about one hundred 
and fifty members. It is self-supporting but for the 
occasional loan of a hall ; it defrays the cost of 
lighting and heating and the expenses of lecturers. 
The lectures deal with varied subjects and questions of 
the day, such as travels, scientific subjects, etc. For 
instance, in the 1907-8 calendar I note amongst others 
lectures on Japan, the Prevention of Consumption, 
Physical Training, Bournville, Socialism, etc. Most of 
these lectures are given by specialists, and may be 
discussed ; these evenings are well attended and are 
held at the Collegium. 



similar in their objects are the Scientific and Literary 
Society, the Philharmonic Society, and the Orchestral 
Society, for they also aim at grouping the people for 
educational and social purposes. The Scientific and 
Literary Society attempts to foster by means of lectures, 
debates, and the reading of papers an interest in the 
subjects indicated by its name ; among its latest 
lectures are such matters as " Sound waves," " The X 
rays," " George Eliot," " The Holy Wells of Cornwall," 
etc. The society also makes a strong point of nature 
study, particularly botany, and promotes trips into the 
neighbouring country. It is entirely self-governed and 
self-supporting, the only help it receives being the 
loan of a hall, which it must light and warm ; though 
its subscription is low (men 2s., women i s., per annum) 
it manages to make ends meet ; its membership is 
about eighty, and consists mainly of the analysts of 
the Works, foremen, clerks, and their wives. 

The two musical societies are under the leadership 
but not under the control of the musical director. He 
is an official of the Company, and his existence is a 
striking token of the interest that the authorities take 
in the encouragement of the arts. The musical 
director is organist at the church, acts as conductor 
to the Philharmonic Society and the Orchestral 
Society, and advises both generally on programmes, 
etc. Both societies are flourishing ; the Philharmonic 
admits none but employees and their families, and 
has seventy members. Its work is entirely choral, 
and consists in performances of glees, oratorios, etc. 
Though the subscription is only 2s. 6d. a year for 
men and 2s. for women, the society manages to light 
and heat its hall, supply music free to members, and 



pay an orchestra when required. It clears its deficits 
by giving three large concerts every season, when it 
hires the Auditorium, to which the public are admitted 
at prices varying between is. and id. The Orchestral 
Society is also primarily an employees' society, but 
has to admit a few outsiders so as to secure all 
the necessary instrumentalists ; it has about thirty 
members and is also entirely self-supporting : it 
even pays the caretaker of the schools a small fee 
whenever it holds a practice. The Silver Prize Band 
is distinct from these societies and has been successful 
in various northern competitions. 

educational societies for which I can find space is the 
Horticultural Society. This organization (which is 
entirely controlled by employees) has as a primary 
object the encouragement of the allotment holders 
by means of a yearly flower and vegetable show. It 
is open to all allotment holders and employees at a 
subscription of is. per annum ; prizes varying between 
is. and 1 2s. 6d. are given for the best kept allotments 
and the finest selection of vegetables ; in addition 
some prizes and cups are given by firms of seedsmen, 
a special prize of two tons of manure being well worth 
winning. A good feature is the show for children's 
gardens, for which prizes varying from 2s. to ?s. 6d. 
are put up. Generally speaking, Port Sunlight 
produce eclipses that of the neighbourhood, as is 
natural enough on small allotments,* and the show 
is quite one of the events of the year. The society 
has over 100 members, and is certainly doing very 
good work, but it might well do more. Where the 
* See Chapter V, 


THE CLUB: BILLIARD ROOM. \Tofacep. 130. 


holdings are so small and their number so large as 
in Port Sunlight, there is a crying need for more 
extensive facilities ; the store sells tools but it does 
nothing more : the allotment holders must buy their 
seeds and manures elsewhere and in small parcels, 
so that they pay far too high rates. It is surprising 
that they have not organized a small purchasing 
society, which could also arrange for the distribution 
and exchange of produce. The Horticultural Society 
might easily take over this work, as it would require 
but little capital, and its value to the community 
would thereby be considerably increased. It is 
obvious that the people would (i) save a great deal 
by buying wholesale ; (2) save freight by grouping 
in truck loads ; (3) most important of all, secure a 
constant supply of fresh manures. 

direct evidence of the value of co-operation at Port 
Sunlight is given by the prosperity of the Employees' 
Provident Society, better known as " The Store." 
This is quite an important feature of Port Sunlight, 
in fact the only important shop, and it has almost a 
monopoly of trade in the Village. It is not necessary 
to praise the co-operative system, particularly when 
applied to distribution : the fact that co-operative 
dealings exceed a hundred million pounds per annum 
in the United Kingdom bears eloquent enough 
witness to the merits of the method. The Port 
Sunlight society is purely an employees' society, 
controlled and financed entirely by them; it has no 
connection with the Company except in so far as it 
pays a commercial rent to the Village account. Its 
control is very minutely provided for by means of 


rules which are substantially the same as those issued 
by the Co-operative Union, Ltd. ; the store is a 
member of this federation, as also of the English 
Wholesale Co-operative Society. It is not worth 
while, therefore, to reproduce these rules in extenso, 
but some points are worth quoting. Every member 
must hold shares to the value of at least 2 ; this is 
rather a large amount, but the rules allow of their 
being paid up at the rate of $d. a week, with a fine 
of i s. per quarter if payments fall into arrears ; on 
the other hand, no member of the society may invest 
in it more than .200. Of course no dividends are 
paid out to any member until his shares are fully 
paid up, but provision is made for cases of distress. 
The society offers good opportunities for the invest- 
ment of small sums by issuing withdrawable shares or 
accepting small loans at 5 to 6 per cent, interest ; 
this rate appears high, but it is not unduly so, since 
the trading profits of the society vary between 7 J and 
12 per cent, which leaves a fair margin of profit. 

The democratic character of the society is pre- 
served by the rule that every member shall have one 
vote irrespective of his shareholding. This essential 
feature of co-operation should not be lost sight of: I 
do not propose to deliver an assault on joint-stockism, 
but this recognition that from a relative point of view 
the interest of the rich and the poor are equal is at 
the root of the great progress of co-operation in this 
country. The employees of the store need not be 
members ; this is the only fault I have to find with 
the society. It is not what Holyoake would have 
called a " dark " store, for the rules state that " the 
employees shall divide among them not less than 



\_Tofacep. 132. 


a farthing in the pound on gross sales, or halfpenny in 
the pound on net profits," but their share is too small 
to give them much interest in the society ; in fact, for 
last quarter they only divided 10 (in addition to 
their wages), and benefited to the extent of 5 us. 6d. 
by a pleasure trip. This is not enough ; they should 
have special facilities for constituting a small capital 
by means of an increased percentage on sales, even if 
their wages had to be reduced, by assimilating their 
labour to purchases, etc., by any method to be agreed 
upon, and of these there is no lack, that will give them 
a definite interest in the fortunes of the store. 

There is no doubt, however, that the store is very 
successful, so successful in fact that I reproduce below 
the record of its career. 

The last line of figures bears only upon half a 
year, and cannot be readily compared with the pre- 
ceding ones, even if we multiply them by two, for 
quarters vary. It is, however, obvious that the society 
has expanded regularly ; at the present time it has 556 
members in 720 houses, a very high proportion even in 
the few cases where there are several members in one 
house. The average distribution of two shillings in the 
pound is about equal to that of distributive societies in 
Great Britain. The store occupies a fairly large floor 
space, of which, however, it has none too much, as it does 
most of the grocery trade of the Village ; it also sells 
drapery, boots, ready-made clothing, coal, confectionery, 
etc., and even runs a bakery and a refreshment room. 

The store is closely connected with the co-opera- 
tive movement, for against sales amounting to about 
16,000 per annum (equivalent to an outlay of 13,000 
to 14,000), we find that about 7200 go to the 










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[To face p. 134. 


Wholesale Co-operative Society and 600 to pro- 
ductive co-operative societies ; this is certainly just as 
it should be. Lastly, as regards thrift, the average 
investment of each member is 4 Ss. The store is 
managed on sound lines, and is not likely to come to 
grief, for the apportionment of the profits is defined 
by the rules. Plant is written down at so rapid a rate 
that it only stands in at present at about 35 per cent, 
of its cost, horses and conveyances at 25 per cent. 
There is also a reserve fund to be used for con- 
tingencies, equalization of dividends or any charitable, 
philanthropic, or ptiblic object ; this is worthy of atten- 
tion, for it at once lifts the society out of the purely 
mercantile rut into which it might so easily sink. 
The educational fund can be made to amount to 2 \ 
per cent, of net profits, and can be used as directed by 
the general meetings ; the development of the idea 
(which is not entirely novel) will be followed with 

SICK BENEFIT SOCIETY. Another valuable in- 
stance of mutual help at Port Sunlight is the Sick, 
Funeral, and Medical Aid Society ; it does not to any 
noticeable degree differ from ordinary benefit societies, 
yet the working of these is not so generally known as 
to make a few words about the Port Sunlight society 
superfluous. It has no connection with the Company 
except that as a matter of convenience the rules appoint 
Messrs. Lever Brothers trustees of the society's monies ; 
this enables the society to do without a banking- 
account, and to earn interest. The Company will 
also, if requested to do so by a member, pay the sub- 
scriptions out of his or her weekly wages. Otherwise 
the society is run by the employees, who elect their 


own committee, appoint their own secretary and doctors, 
etc. The secretary is remunerated by means of a 
commission of 3 per cent, on subscriptions, fines and 
levies, equal to about 50 per annum ; out of this he 
pays such clerical assistance as he may require. 

There are some interesting provisions in the rules. 
There is one, for instance, that makes the post of a 
committee man effective, and ensures that the function 
will be taken seriously: non-attendance at meetings 
is, in default of good reasons, punished by fines of 
threepence for ordinary members, and sixpence for 
officers. I do not know what the effect of this rule 
has been, but it speaks well for the public spirit of the 
men that there are always candidates from every 
department for any of the vacant seats. Another 
onerous position is that of the "stewards," or "sick 
visitors," who are elected quarterly by the committee 
for the purpose of inquiring into the cases reported to 
the society, and of preventing fraud. These duties 
carry no salary, and their non- or ill-fulfilment renders 
the steward liable to expulsion from the society; 
this again speaks well for the public spirit of the 
members. Five pounds per annum are set aside to 
provide appliances for those who cannot afford them. 

All employees between fourteen and forty-five, 
their wives and children are, after medical examina- 
tion, admissible to the full benefits ; above these ages 
they can be admitted if passed both by the doctor and 
the committee. This admission or retention on the 
books of the older men, most of whom are or will 
soon be pensioners, is in a sense a source of danger 
to the stability of the society ; but it would be hard 
and unfair to deprive a man of benefits for which he 


was ready to pay because he was in receipt of a pen- 
sion. Subscriptions are on three scales, according to 
age. Class A includes juniors (both sexes, under 
eighteen), Class B is for females over eighteen, and 
is open to males under twenty-one, Class C is for 
males not included in the other two classes. Sub- 
scriptions and benefits can best be seen from the 
following table : 


Subscrip- Sick Member. Member's Member's child, 

tions. benefit. wife. under 14 years 

of age. 

Class A 2d. 3-r. 3 

;; c I*. 10* ^s 6 2 

This table at first sight does not seem very nicely 
adjusted, as Class A appears to be at a disadvantage, 
but it must be remembered that it only includes young 
persons under eighteen whose needs are greater and 
whose illnesses are frequent ; moreover, the society 
must take into account the considerable help that is 
given by Messrs. Lever Brothers, who increase by 
50 per cent, the subscriptions of all the females and 
those of the boys in Class A. This voluntary item is 
a large one and amounted in 1907 to almost 180, 
or 9 per cent, of the total receipts of the society. 

The above benefits are granted for thirteen weeks, 
after which half benefit is paid for another thirteen 
weeks, and quarter benefit for such period as the 
committee may fix. A man may also secure medical 
aid and medicine for his wife at the rate of id. a week, 
and for every child under fourteen for an additional 
penny ; he may secure medical aid only for his mother 
or wife's mother, if resident, at id. a week. All 


benefits are, of course, subject to certificates granted 
by one of the society's four doctors, and the serving 
out of medicine to the production of the card of 

The financial position of the society is particularly 
strong, and the contribution of Messrs. Lever Brothers 
is not needed to balance the accounts ; indeed, this 
contribution in 1907 amounted to only a quarter of 
the realized surplus for the year; the sole object of 
the contribution is to encourage thrift among the 
younger and poorer sections of the employees ; the 
fact that it is not paid on the contribution of Class C 
is counterbalanced by this class participating in the 
total surplus. The Port Sunlight society divides its 
surplus every year, so that it is a savings' bank as well 
as a provident fund ; in 1907 every member of Class A 
received 4*. 8d., of Class B fs., and of Class C 14^. 
The total benefit for the year (including doctors' fees) 
amounted to .1071 ; as the total membership was 
1459 it is clear that undue use of their privileges is not 
common among the employees. I mentioned above 
that surpluses were divided. In 1907 the divisible 
surplus was 729 4^. 2^., and a sum of 62 3^. 3^. 
was constituted into a reserve. This proceeding is not 
above criticism ; it is true that the popularity of the 
society would be impaired if it attempted to form a 
strong reserve, and that its functions as a savings' bank 
would be interfered with, but it is clear that the posi- 
tion is not as stable as it should be. At present all is 
well with the society, and its members are mostly 
young and vigorous, but how will it fare within, say 
twenty years, when sick benefits and, still more, funeral 
benefits become heavy ? We shall then see either the 


surpluses shrinking, and with them the popularity and 
the membership of the society, or levies will be 
necessary, in which case the results will be still worse. 
The only safe policy is to set aside every year a fixed 
proportion of the profits, say 10 per cent, of the surplus, 
until the society has at least IDS. per member in hand. 
To do this would cost the three classes only 5</., 8Jfl?., 
and is. T>d. per head and per annum for about nine 
years, after which surpluses could be divided in full. 
Such a course would be slightly unfair to the present 
members, as they might leave the society, but they all 
have equal chances ; besides, their position is some- 
what similar to that of shareholders in a company 
which is constituting a reserve, for they may sell their 
shares, and yet they are not likely to find the amount 
of the reserve reflected by the price they obtain. At 
any rate, in so serious a question as the future of 
a benefit society doctrinaire justice must give way to 
the exigencies of sound finance. 

Before leaving this already lengthy survey of Village 
institutions a few words should be said on two institu- 
tions, both partly philanthropic, the object of which is 
to lighten or brighten the lot of the women. One is 
the Women's Guild, the other the Maternal Aid Society. 
The Women's Guild is almost self-supporting, and has 
about one hundred members. Its objects are fellow- 
ship, and religious and social intercourse. Primarily it 
is intended to give women whose family duties prevent 
them from going to church an opportunity of spiritual 
refreshment, but various other aims are also attained. 
The mothers are allowed to bring their children and 
their sewing, which they cheerfully pursue while the 


minister expounds a short lesson. Then tea and 
refreshments are handed round whilst the secretary 
reads announcements, and here we find an interesting 
development. To encourage women's interest in the 
affairs of the people lectures are given from time to 
time on subjects that interest them particularly, such 
as temperance, housing, hygiene, Acts of Parliament 
affecting the child, etc. At a meeting at which I was 
present, for instance, an account of a temperance debate 
was read and a petition largely signed. 

The Women's Guild is also a savings' bank ; mem- 
bers pay in anything between $d. and is. 6d. at any 
meeting, and on this they receive the large bonus of 
2d. in the shilling, paid out of the proceeds of a jumble 
sale held every year ; the goods (mainly clothing and 
groceries) are gifts from outsiders and are sold to the 
women at low rates. The proceeds suffice to pay 
expenses, bonuses, rent and lighting of room, etc., so 
that the society is only partly philanthropic. The 
guild also organizes picnics, and strives, in brief, to 
shed a little light upon lives which are but too often 
drab and cheerless. 

The Maternal Aid Society does not differ greatly 
from similar associations formed in many parishes. 
It is philanthropic, but is based on self-help. Its 
object is to assist the wives of the less well paid 
employees by supplying them with a bag of linen for 
mother and baby, a portion of which is retained, as 
well as with some groceries. The bag is lent for one 
month. In addition the society pays for the doctor, 
the nurse and the washing ; the total cost per bag is 
about 32^., but the charge made to the mother is only 
$s. ; as this is insufficient, voluntary effort has to make 


up the deficit. The society does excellent work, par- 
ticularly in large families, for the benefit society does 
not provide for confinements. 

minor points in the other societies worthy of mention, 
but their discussion would lead us to digress^ too far. 
The role of the social secretary is, however, so closely 
interwoven with the societies themselves that his 
position should be explained. The institution of a 
social secretary may be made to mean a great deal or 
very little ; in some American factories his principal 
occupation is to stand between master and men, to 
state grievances and obtain redress, to intercede in 
favour of culprits, to organize leagues, societies, and 
sports, to work for the welfare of the men in every 
way that his ingenuity can suggest. At Port Sunlight 
his work is rather different, for he does not play the 
part either of advocate or peacemaker ; the intimate 
contact that appears to exist between the head 
officials and the employees has reduced the necessity 
for this kind of intervention to a minimum. The 
social secretary of the Village is in charge of the 
welfare of the institutions ; he arranges for them the 
use of halls, printing and advertising, provides 
lectures, entertainments, etc. He is a member of 
more than one committee, and is secretary to the 
Auditorium, the hospital, the mutual improvement 
society, and the club. He often receives and some- 
times acts as a guide to visitors, and assists press- 
work. He is, in fact, rather secretary to the institu- 
tions than social secretary ; as he controls all the 
public buildings and must always be ready to give 
every encouragement and aid to the societies his is by 


no means a sinecure. The successful social secretary 
must not only be a hard worker but a man of wide 
sympathy, having the interest of the people at heart, 
and a kindly understanding of that which is both good 
and pleasant in their eyes. In fact, it lies very much 
in his hands to make or to mar the social life of the 
Village, a great task and a great responsibility. In 
view of all that has been said in this chapter and in 
Chapter VI. the reader will gather that a very high 
tribute of praise is due to the present social secretary ; 
I have certainly tried to do him justice in the preface. 
A few institutions such as the Boy's Brigade, the 
Bible class, and the Sunday school offer features 
of interest, but they are of so special a nature that 
they have been incorporated into the chapter dealing 
with education, in connection with which, and with 
Chapter III., this account of Port Sunlight institutions 
should be read. 



IN social as in other schemes the proof of the pudding 
is in the eating. Thus no innovation is justifiable 
unless it can be shown that it has really been an 
improvement ; this is perhaps a truism, but the world 
unfortunately seems to be divided into two camps, 
those who would pull down everything and those who 
would pull down nothing. I confess that my sym- 
pathies go out to the iconoclasts, not only because they 
are vigorous and idealistic, even though sometimes 
mistaken, but because there is always a presumption 
that an old law is a bad law, an old institution a bad 
institution. At any rate the onus of proof is with the 
ancient and presumably outworn system, not with the 
young if upstart theory. I do not suppose that this 
view is acceptable to everybody, but, after all, a view 
acceptable to everybody is usually good for nobody, 
for the merit of a scheme is measured by the numbers 
of its detractors. 

The value of social schemes, however, is only thus 
measured at the inception ; in later stages they must 
justify their existence by their results and by nothing 
else, for the practical social student will always prefer 
one small gain to ten valiant efforts. To what extent, 


therefore, may we ask ourselves, has Port Sunlight 
succeeded ? To what degree has it modified the habits 
of the people ? In what direction has it influenced 
their minds ? I do not hesitate to say that the fields 
of social effort have seldom been tilled to greater 
advantage, and that the effects, both moral and 
material, of good housing and good general conditions 
are in many ways remarkable. Not only are we 
struck by the appearance of the Village, so much 
struck that, secure in the challenge and confident of 
victory, we can say to the incredulous : Go and see ! 
but if we go further and observe more closely the 
habits of the people, we have it borne upon us that 
our own social system is sorely out of joint. That 
good conditions could have had such striking effects 
within twenty years is enough to make us bitterly 
conscious of the guilt of our town builders, of the 
faithless shepherds who neglect their flocks. 

On the moral side, in no direction has Port Sun- 
light made its influence so strongly felt as in that of 
temperance. It is true that there is in the Village 
only one licensed house, and that the club sells no 
intoxicants ; thus the temptations that assail the 
worker at every street corner in our cities of grime 
and gold are absent in the Village. There is, however, 
something more, for within a quarter of a mile of the 
boundaries of the Village there are altogether no fewer 
than thirteen public-houses, some far from dirty or 
uninviting. Opportunities for drunkenness are there- 
fore present, I do not say to as great a degree as they 
would be in a great city, but not to so much less a 
degree as might explain the unusual sobriety of the 
people. For, indeed, what do we see at Bridge Inn 


but numbers of factory workers purchasing food and 
non-intoxicants a few going so far as to take a single 
drink, but no more. Except at meal times the inn 
is deserted ; the bar at which in other houses we are 
accustomed to see a small crowd is frequented only 
by visitors. Yet the inn is far from unattractive ; 
everything possible has been done to turn it into a 
true " poor man's club " ; the cosy smoking-room has 
been described in Chapter VI., and it might be 
expected that its comfortable padded seats would 
attract the men in shoals, and detain them for whole 
evenings at a time. The liquor is good and the prices 
are low, and yet, in the face of all inducements (or 
rather apparent inducements) the men do not come. 
For this there are only two explanations : the men 
have either gone elsewhere or found something better 
to do. The first explanation is natural enough when 
we consider that Bridge Inn lies in the middle of the 
Village, for the residents might not care to be seeji in 
the bar ; on the other hand, we must remember that 
there are in Port Sunlight one thousand seven hundred 
men and women over twenty-one, so that, if they fre- 
quented the public-houses in the neighbourhood, it 
would be noticeable. Yet visits to several of these 
houses give no reason to think that the people of Port 
Sunlight have resort to them to any great extent ; one 
can generally recognize the inhabitant, if only by his 
healthy appearance, and I do not think that the 
neighbouring houses enjoy very much of his patron- 
age. The second is thus the only alternative : the 
Sunlighter does not drink. The fact is that he does 
not need to drink. He has a comfortable home, and 
he is therefore more inclined to stay there than to go 



out to buy society at the cost of many drinks ; I 
repeat that which cannot be said too often : a good 
home and drunken habits are almost incompatible, 
save in the case of natural vice. It is almost certain 
that drunkenness is a self-engendered habit, for men 
rarely begin by drinking to excess. In the first place, 
particularly when they are bachelors, they drink for 
the sake of conviviality they increase their con- 
sumption of alcoholics because excitement decreases 
with satisfaction ; if their homes are wretched the 
contrary state to the bachelor's loneliness has similar 
results. At Port Sunlight, where family feeling reigns 
supreme, the man is not driven out of his home by 
squalor, but prefers to dwell there in quietude and ease. 
Whatever be the causes, and every social student 
will agree that good housing is the root cause, the fact 
remains that the drink bill of Port Sunlight is very 
low. I have no reliable statistics as to the workers' 
budgets, but it is on the face of it impossible that any 
family in the Village attains the fearful figure of Js. 
a week,* given by Dr. Dawson Burns and Sir Thomas 
Whittaker, which is the average expenditure on stimu- 
lants of working-class families. Indeed, it is likely 
that the Trust public-house failed because it attained 
its object too well, and that the present management 
would already have shared its fate if the inn had not 
been transformed into a catering establishment. The 
fact therefore remains, and it will be hard to disprove 
it, that one of the first effects of twenty years of good 
housing has been a deep and probably radical trans- 
formation of habits said to be hereditary, but due in 
reality to an apparently hopeless combination of evils : 
* See also Messrs. Rowntree and Sherwell's calculations. 


the evils have been fought and conquered, and drink, 
the cause and result of social questions, has at once 
been conquered with them. Anything more cheering 
and strengthening for those who are struggling with 
social problems than the state of things at Port Sun- 
light I can hardly conceive. 

Cleanliness, next to godliness, is surely next to 
sobriety. A sidelight in Chapter VI., dealing with 
the revelations of the hospital, shows that the influence 
of the ubiquitous bathroom has made itself felt. I am 
aware that one of the charges commonly levelled at 
the working classes is that their standards of clean- 
liness are low ; all I can say is that, given the con- 
ditions under which too large a section lives, it is 
surprising that their standard is as high as it is. The 
inhabitants of model dwellings and of the better class 
cottages are not badly off as regards facilities, for they 
have either common baths at their disposal, or enough 
space to perform their ablutions in private. But when 
we come to the tenement dwellers the position is very 
different. Many of the tenement houses in White- 
chapel, Poplar, Islington, etc., were formerly good 
middle-class residences in Georgian or early Victorian 
days ; little by little these districts have been deserted 
for the benefit of the suburbs, and the houses have 
been divided up into one- or two-roomed tenements. 
Naturally enough, as our fathers did not attach so 
much importance to this question of cleanliness as to 
provide bathrooms themselves, the owners of the 
decadent properties did not make good their omissions. 
Thus the tenement dweller, when he is fortunate, must 
often draw his water supply from a tap on the landing, 
sometimes from a pump in the back-yard. All I would 


ask the middle-class critic is whether his zeal would be 
stimulated by having, on a frosty morning, to fetch a 
bucket of cold water from the pump for the purpose of 
washing, possibly in the presence of the whole family ? 

The Sunlighter is free from these terrible disabili- 
ties, and a few days' intercourse with him is enough 
to show that he believes fervently in the gospel of 
soap and water both for himself and his house. I 
visited some of the smaller dwellings in the Village 
and was everywhere struck by the spotless condition 
of floors and walls, the neatness of the white curtains, 
the general well-scrubbed appearance of every house- 
hold article. The secret was revealed to me by an 
artisan's wife who remembered but too well the 
" Scotland " division of Liverpool : " The houses are 
respectable, so we keep ourselves respectable." In 
that sentence is summed up the housing problem, with 
all that it means in terms of human suffering and of 
human potentialities. How far reaching the effects 
of the Port Sunlight scheme have been as regards 
temperance and cleanliness is obvious to all who care 
to observe : after a day they will be convinced ; there 
are other directions, however, in which good housing 
has been at work, one of them being general morality. 

It is too often thought that morality, " perceived 
obligation," is the exclusive possession of a small 
class ; destructive criticism might be levelled at the 
theory, but that is not necessary or desirable if we 
only want to show how far morality may be improved 
by adequate housing. It is unfortunately too true 
that general brutality, traceable as a rule to drinking 
habits, plays a great part in the relations of the 
working classes ; it is also true that bad housing 



lies at the root of these troubles. If we compare 
the police records of the Bebington district with those 
of Liverpool or London we are amazed, for of late 
years there has not been within the Port Sunlight 
district a single case of drunkenness nor a single case 
of wife beating. This alone should tend to show how 
enormous the improvement has been, for we have to 
deal in the Village with exactly the same class as in 
our city slums, viz. the unskilled labourer. It is a 
mistake to imagine that the houses are held mainly 
by superior artisans ; they are mostly in the hands 
of men earning about 2$s. a week thus the above 
comparison may fairly be made. Wife beating is, 
however, so intimately connected with drunkenness 
that we can dismiss the two evils at the same time. 
Other forms of immorality, so prevalent in our in- 
dustrial cities, are almost unknown in Port Sunlight. 
Amazing as it may seem in a community numbering 
about two thousand one hundred persons over four- 
teen, illegitimate births are of very rare occurrence 
in the Village. Of course it is impossible to keep 
count of such happenings, owing to the fact that 
women, when thus situated, often leave the district 
in which they are known, but given that the average 
rate of illegitimacy for Great Britain is about forty per 
thousand, and that there are between one hundred and 
one hundred and ten births every year in the Village, 
a proportion of the cases would necessarily come to 
light. No drunkenness, no wife beating, no immorality, 
no assaults, no deserted wives and children ; is all this 
not an enviable record and a plea for an attempt to 
improve everywhere the living conditions of the people ? 
The normal result of sobriety and of cheap and 


rational amusements is, of course, an increased tendency 
to provide for old age. Conscious of the fact that the 
pension fund will not help him if he ceases to be an 
employee of the Company, the Sunlighter is likely to 
set aside out of his small income as great a proportion 
as he can. Evidence of this tendency is forthcoming, 
for the Company, in order to encourage thrift, receives 
deposits from its employees at the rate of 4 per cent, 
per annum for every completed pound ; these deposits 
amount on an average to ^3500, or 30 per depositor. 
In other directions also economical habits are fostered 
or flourish without encouragement. I need only recall 
the fact that practically every adult employee sub- 
scribes to the Benefit Society ; that the membership 
of the store amounts to some 80 per cent, of the 
number of householders ; that almost all the employees 
have joined the Holiday Club. The contributions 
of the Company to the funds of the sick benefit society 
and the interest allowance to the Holiday Club are 
instances of intelligent and well-deserved support. 

The foregoing characteristics, though material 
in their effects, are moral in their causes ; there are, 
however, important results which are purely material 
in their origin. The chief of these are health and 
social conditions, for by these two alone we could 
almost judge the Village and approve or disapprove 
without going any further in our examination. It 
stands to reason that cleanliness, temperance, and open 
spaces must make for an improvement both in 
physique and general well-being, and it is important 
to show by means of comparison how great these 
improvements have been. The visitor is struck at 
once by the generally healthy appearance of the 


people and especially by the fine physique of the 
young men ; the football team, for instance, is com- 
posed of young men in the twenties, and almost all 
the members of the team are notably taller and 
heavier than their local antagonists. The appearance 
of the children is remarkable, for they are usually fat, 
rosy, and irrepressibly cheerful ; statistics referring 
particularly to them are quoted further on. Before 
dealing with the children, a few general statistics 
relating to the total population will go a long way 
towards demonstrating the excellent sanitary conditions 
prevailing in the Village. 

VITAL STATISTICS. It has been mentioned in 
the course of these chapters that the site on which 
Port Sunlight is built is low lying, and that much 
draining and damming had to be done to make it 
suitable for inhabitation. It might therefore be 
thought that the Village would not be healthy. The 
sanitary work has, however, been so thorough and 
the effects of good housing have been so marked 
that the average death rate of Port Sunlight compares 
very favourably with the figures for most other parts of 
the country. 

Year. Population. Death rate per 100. 

1900 .. 2007 .. 12*45 

1901 .. 2331 .. 12-87 

1902 .. 2484 .. 7-24 

1903 .. 2580 .. 8.14 

1904 .. 2610 .. 12-96 

1905 .. 2700 .. 5-55 

1906 .. 2900 .. 10-00 

1907 .. 3600 .. 8'oo 

Average' .. .. 9-00 


It will be seen from the foregoing table that the 
death rate has fluctuated somewhat, as is inevitable 
in a small community where an epidemic may make 
all the difference ; thus it is dangerous to instance 
any particular year, but fair to take the average of 
the last eight years, as a basis. The yearly report 
of the Registrar of Births, Marriages, and Deaths for 
England and Wales provides interesting comparisons 
with the Port Sunlight rate. 


Denbighshire (highest county rate) .. .. 19 

Carnarvonshire .. .. .. .. 18 

Middlesex (lowest county rate) .. .. n 

76 great towns (over 50,000 inhabitants) .. 16*2 

142 small towns (20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants) 147 

Rest of England and Wales (country) .. .. 15 

All England and Wales .. .. /. .. 16 

Liverpool .. .. .. .. .. 20 

Port Sunlight .. .. .. .. .. 9 

This is a striking table, and it is apparent at once 
that the death rate of Port Sunlight is extraordinarily 
low ; indeed hardly any individual towns have so low 
an average as Port Sunlight, except Hornsey (7 to 8), 
East Ham (8 to 9), and Willesden (8 to 9). Port 
Sunlight is apparently healthier than the healthiest 
county (n), than the English country districts (15) ; 
considerably healthier than the great towns (16*2) in 
which it would probably be the fate of the inhabitants 
to live and die, but for the model village. Here, there- 
fore, we have already striking testimony to the advan- 
tages offered by life at Port Sunlight Statistics of 


mortality must not, however, be taken as final ; they 
must be analyzed with regard to infantile mortality.* 
It is indeed questionable whether it is worth while to 
prolong life indefinitely. I will not enter into a dis- 
cussion of this thorny subject, but it is enough to say 
that a low general death rate is less important than a 
low rate of infantile mortality ; thus it behoves us to 
compare Port Sunlight averages with those supplied 
in the registrar's report. 


Carnarvonshire (highest county) .. .. 160 

Denbighshire .. .. .. .. .. 158 

Oxfordshire .. .. .. .. .. 65 

76 great towns (over 50,000 inhabitants) .. 125 

Rest of England and Wales (excluding small 

towns) 97 

All England and Wales .. .. .. .. 119 

Liverpool .. .. .. .. .. .. 140 

Dewsbury .. .. .. .. .. .. 179 

Port Sunlight .. .. .. .. .. 70 

Again Port Sunlight compares in a striking manner 
with all other parts of England. It is worth noting 
that its infant mortality is exactly half that of its im- 
mediate neighbour, Liverpool ; given that the general 
death rate in Liverpool is more than double that of 
Port Sunlight, the four figures can be made the basis 
of a striking comparison. Can any one contend that 
a case has not been made for Port Sunlight in this 

* Persons aged less than one year, according to the registrar's 


respect also when its mortality rate for infants (70) 
is set beside the rate for all England (119) ? The rate 
is beaten only by a few districts, such as Hornsey, 
Hastings, Bournemouth, etc. 

SUNLIGHT COMPARED. The birth rate of Port Sun- 
light is equally satisfactory. It is not suggested that a 
high birth rate is a blessing, nor that it necessarily 
effects a condition of prosperity and culture, but, other 
conditions being good, a high birth rate may be taken 
to mean that the physical and mental health of the 
people is satisfactory. Before giving in this connec- 
tion statistics which bear more especially on social 
relations, something should be said of the extremely 
interesting comparisons which have been made between 
Port Sunlight and Liverpool children. These figures 
were prepared on the one hand by Dr. Arkle for the 
Liverpool Education Committee,* and on the other 
by the Port Sunlight medical officer. It will be 
realized that these records are an important piece of 
evidence, and they are well worth detailed study. 
They concern five grades of Liverpool schools and the 
single grade of Port Sunlight elementary schools. 
According to Mr. Lever's paper read at the Inter- 
national Housing Congress at Port Sunlight on 
August 9 of 1907, these grades should be under- 
stood as follows : 

HIGHER GRADE SCHOOLS, where the sons of 
leading wealthy citizens are educated ; 

COUNCIL SCHOOLS "A." Type of the best 
council school, where the parents of the children are 

* In 1907, at the time of the sittings of the Royal Commissions on 
National Degeneration and the under-feeding of school children. 


well-to-do, and the children have mostly comfortable 
homes ; 

COUNCIL SCHOOLS " B." Type of school where 
the children are mostly of the labouring classes. 
Selected as a type for the children of the labouring 
classes whose parents have constant employment ; 

COUNCIL SCHOOLS " C." A type of the poorest 
class, where the parents of the children belong almost 
entirely to the unemployed or casual labour sections ; 

PORT SUNLIGHT SCHOOLS may be taken as 
equivalent to type " B " ; the parents belong mainly to 
the labouring classes but are in constant employment. 

This being said, the following schedule of figures 
will be understandable : 



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It is not unnecessary to comment upon the fore- 
going figures so as to crystallize conclusions, in view 
especially of the reservations embodied in the note 
appended to the schedule. Owing to a misunderstand- 
ing, or to prudishness on the part of parents, the Port 
Sunlight boys were weighed with more clothes than 
the Liverpool boys, so that results can be compared 
only by deducting two pounds from Port Sunlight 
weights. This deduction is, however, rather arbitrary, 
and it therefore appears preferable to confine the com- 
parisons of weights to the girls, who were in both 
towns weighed in their everyday clothing. Heights 
are, of course, comparable in both cases and for both 
sexes, as they were taken in stockinged feet. 

HEIGHT. This is not a very important factor, for 
it has not much bearing upon the health of the people ; 
it is good that a race should be tall and well-knit, but 
height is not a paramount consideration. Neverthe- 
less it may be assumed that a tall child is fairly well 
developed ; a few comparisons may therefore be useful ; 
the figures allow for their being made to bear upon 
both sexes. 

1. The Port Sunlight children are taller than those 
at present in industrial schools. 

2. The Port Sunlight boys are taller than those in 
the highest class Liverpool Council schools ; the girls 
are usually shorter than in Liverpool. 

3. If we compare Port Sunlight boys and girls with 
type " B " (to which Sunlight schools closely approxi- 
mate) we find that Port Sunlight boys are far in 
advance and that the girls almost equal their advantage. 

4. The standards of Port Sunlight children are 
exceeded only by first-rate middle-class schools. 


WEIGHTS. These are, as has been said, interesting 
results, but the most valuable comparisons must be 
drawn from weights ; they are based exclusively on the 
girls, owing to the difficulties as regards the clothing 
of the boys, but they must apply equally well to both 

1. Port Sunlight girls are between one and ten 
pounds heavier than those in the best Liverpool 
Council schools ; they are inferior at a few ages only. 

2. They are anything up to thirteen pounds heavier 
than girls in Council School " B." 

3. Comparisons with School " C " are irregular, but 
on the whole Port Sunlight girls are heavier. 

4. Port Sunlight girls are as much as thirteen and 
fourteen pounds heavier than their fellows in industrial 

These are remarkable figures, all the more so when 
we remember that these large differences amount in 
some cases to 1 5 and even 20 per cent, of the children's 
total weight, and that 10 per cent, differences in favour 
of Port Sunlight are quite common. If we examine 
the records for the boys (keeping in mind the deduc- 
tion for clothing) the results are equally remarkable. 

1. Port Sunlight boys are beaten only by the 
middle-class schools. 

2. They beat the best Council schools, in one case 
by thirty pounds. 

3. Types B " and " C " and the industrial school 
are also completely beaten. 

I will only add a few striking facts, taking type " B " 
of the Council schools as a basis 

i. A Port Sunlight girl of seven and a half years 
is as heavy as a Liverpool girl of eight and a half. 


2. A Port Sunlight girl of twelve and a half is 
much heavier than a Liverpool girl of thirteen and 
a half to fourteen. 

These will suffice to show what a physical revolu- 
tion has been worked in the children of the people by 
good food, good housing, open spaces, exercise, and 
regular employment of the parents. It is not too 
much to call it a revolution, for we must look to the 
children to perpetuate in their descendants the im- 
provement of the race. In these days when our 
attention has at last been drawn to physical degenera- 
tion such figures are cheering, and they show us also 
our plain duty, whether we have it in our power to 
influence social conditions directly or only by means 
of a vote. 

The results of the Port Sunlight regime have, how- 
ever, made themselves felt in other directions. Regular 
employment, good housing, and all the advantages 
that follow in their train, influence something more 
than the health of the people : they have an important 
bearing upon their outlook. The Sunlighter, healthy 
and comparatively prosperous, has every inducement 
to marry early and to bring up a large family ; his 
life is centred round his home and its simple pleasures, 
so that a large and well-reared family becomes a 
normal part of his economy. This question has been 
so fully and so ably dealt with by Mr. W. H. Lever 
himself in his paper at the International Housing 
Congress that I reproduce in extenso the portion that 
relates to this all-important marriage question 

" The following statistics relating to Port Sunlight 
have been drawn up by Mr. Duncan C. Fraser, the 


well-known actuary in Liverpool. Mr. Eraser took 
for his calculation those employees of Lever Brothers 
who, at the end of 1905, had seen ten years' service or 
over with the firm, their age and salary, married, 
widower, or single, and the number of children under 
the age of seventeen years. Every employee of ten 
years' service and over of the age of twenty-five or over 
was included, from the highest official to the lowest 
labouring man. On this clear basis Mr. Fraser 
divided the employees into six grades 

Lower Grade Workmen earning on the average 

a year. 
Higher Grade Workmen earning on the average 99 a 

Lower Grade Clerks with an average income of ^"128 

a year. 
Higher Grade Clerks, being the higher section of the 

clerical staff, heads of departments, and men in 

positions of responsibility, the average earnings being 

191 a. year. 
Lower Grade Business Men who were actually engaged 

in selling the products of the firm, the average 

income being ^346 a year. 
Higher Grade Business Men who were Directors, 

Managers, and Controllers, with salaries of over 

;iooo a year. 

The above six grades, therefore, fall into three well- 
marked social divisions Working-men, Clerks, and 
Business-men and each division is sub-divided into 
lower and higher grades. 

The following table gives the percentages of 
married men amongst these various grades : 



Per cent. 
Lower Grade Workman .. .. .. 78 

Higher Grade Workman .. .. .. 96 

Lower Grade Clerks .. .. .. -.71 

Higher Grade Clerks 66 

Lower Grade Business Men .. .. .. 96 

Higher Grade Business Men .. .. .. 92 

The higher proportion of married men among the 
higher grade of working men is very striking, every 
man over the age of forty being married and having a 
wife living. 

Mr. Fraser next compares the different grades with 
reference to the number of children. The children 
who were living and under the age of seventeen at 
the end of 1905 were classified according to the ages 
and grades of their fathers ; and the average number 
of children per married man in each grade was found 
to be as follows : 





















Lower G. 

Higher G. 























I '2 










2 *9 










From this table it will be seen that the higher 
grade of working man takes the lead in a most 
remarkable manner. 


Mr. Fraser next calculated, taking the number 
of children per higher grade workman as the standard, 
the percentage there actually was in the other grades, 
and the result was shown to be as follows : 


Per cent. 

Working Men (Higher Grade) .. ., 100 
(Lower Grade) .. .. 77*9 

Clerks (Higher Grade) 6ri 

(Lower Grade) .. .. .. 42*6 

Business Men (Higher Grade) .. .. 62-4 

(Lower Grade) ., 47-5 

Mr. Fraser next considers the question of children 
from another point of view. The above table deals 
with the number of children per married man. Next, 
Mr. Fraser calculates the number of children per male 
employee in each of the above grades, whether the 
employee be married or single. This table, it will be 
noted, introduces as a further factor in the calculation 
the percentage of men unmarried at each grade. The 
result obtained in calculating the number of children 
under seventeen per man to each grade, taking the 
higher grade working man as the standard, was as 
follows : 

Per cent. 

Working Men (Higher Grade) .. .. 100 

(Lower Grade) .. .. 65-2 

Business Men (Higher Grade) .. .. 58*3 

Business Men (Lower Grade) .. .. 46^8 

Clerks (Higher Grade) 45-5 

(Lower Grade) 33-0 


Practically it will be seen that the male employees 
of all the other grades taken together rise only half- 
way to the standard set by the higher grade working 

Mr. Eraser next prepared statistics in which the 
children are grouped in families, and the average 
number of children under seventeen per family arrived 
at was as follows : 

Working Men (Higher Grade) .. .. 3*1 

(Lower Grade) .. .. 2*1 

Business Men (Higher Grade) .. .. i'8 

(Lower Grade) .. .. 1*4 

Clerks (Higher Grade) .. .. .. 2 g o 

(Lower Grade) .. .. .. 1*2 

The preponderance of large families amongst the 
higher grade working men is very striking, and it was 
also found that more than half the children of the 
higher grade of working men were in families of more 
than four children. So far as Port Sunlight is con- 
cerned, it is clear that this is the grade which provides 
the increase of population. If Port Sunlight is repre- 
sentative of the general population of the United 
Kingdom, then we can assume that the increase 
of population and, in fact, the great majority of the 
future population will be provided by the higher 
grade of working men, the most intelligent and the 
fittest of their class, and we may take the most 
optimistic view of the future." 

It only remains now to make a few comparisons 
between the general birth rate at Port Sunlight and the 
average in various parts of England. It will be 


gathered from the preceding figures that this rate 
must necessarily be high, and the fact is certainly not 
surprising in view of the high standard of comfort 
that prevails in the Village, and the human tendency 
to correlate the size of the family with that of the 
income. Let us, in the first place, give a table of the 
birth rates in the Village year by year. 

Year. Population. Birth Rate 

per 1000. 

1900 2007 48-33 

1901 2331 51-48 

1902 2484 39-45 

1903 2580 5271 

1904 2610 47'9 

1905 2700 4270 

1906 2900 35*86 

1907 3600 30*0 
Average .. .. .. 42*0 

In every case these averages exceed those of 
England and Wales. The birth rate has fluctuated 
a good deal, as it must in a small community ; it is 
noticeable that it has been going down steadily of late 
years, but this phenomenon is not confined to the 
Village. At any rate, taking not the worst year, but 
what is fairer, the average of the last eight years, 
we find that the birth rate considerably exceeds 
English averages. This appears at once from an 
examination of the following comparative table : 


Monmouthshire (highest county rate) .. .. 35*5 

Durham .. .. .. .. .. .. 34*8 

Sussex (lowest county rate) .. .. .21-3 


76 great towns (over 50,000 inhabitants) .. 28*3 

142 small towns (20,000 to 50,000 inhabitants) 26*9 

Rest of England and Wales (country) .. .. 26*9 

All England and Wales .. .. .. .. 27-5 

Liverpool .. .. ., .. .. 337 

Port Sunlight .. .. .. .. .. 42*0 

This is eloquent testimony to the conclusions stated 
above and, in comparison with the numerous pieces of 
evidence that have already been quoted, it demon- 
strates what a powerful influence Port Sunlight has 
been as regards the prosperity and the development 
of the family, and how great a triumph is in store 
for the reformer who can level up living conditions 
on the lines followed by the founders of the Port 
Sunlight scheme. 



EDUCATION, good or bad, is at one and the same 
time both a cause and a result of good or evil con- 
ditions. On the one hand, it is obvious that bad or 
insufficient education makes for a low standard of 
living, dirt, drunkenness, and immorality ; on the other, 
that good education fosters most of the civic and 
private virtues. These are truisms, but it is important 
to realize that, where social conditions are bad, there 
can be no good, i.e. fruitful, education. It is therefore 
not surprising to find it on a high level at Port Sun- 
light. It should be clear that an ill-fed, ill-housed 
and overworked child cannot profit even if all the 
forces of pedagogy are brought into play ; it must be 
equally clear that the Port Sunlight child, well-housed 
and nourished, sufficiently clad and rigidly debarred 
from half-time employment at the Works, must profit 
by its training to an extraordinary degree. 

Everything that could make learning pleasant has 
apparently been done. The elementary schools, of 
which there are four two for the infants, one for the 
juniors, and one for the seniors are models of what 


schools should be. They were originally built and 
controlled by Messrs. Lever Brothers, but were taken 
over by the Cheshire County Council in pursuance 
of the Education Act (1902). They differ from the 
ordinary type of school in the peculiar features of 
their construction and in the spirit that informs the 
teaching. The buildings themselves are beautiful, 
built of bright red brick and covered with creepers ; 
everywhere again we find large windows, abundant 
ventilation, perfect heating arrangements. The schools 
tell the same tale as all the other public buildings : 
hygiene, cheerfulness, and beauty. Each of the two 
schools * has a large hall, very high and Gothic in 
design. The walls of this hall are panelled in oak, 
distempered in white, and decorated with large repro- 
ductions of statuary, among which can be seen Apollo, 
Diana, Venus, etc. This is a welcome change from 
the over-common set of crude maps which completes 
the scene of desolation conjured up by rows of forms 
disfigured by ink stains and the knives of the small boys. 
At Port Sunlight we receive a very different impression, 
particularly if we have the good fortune to attend a 
class or the children's service in the large hall ; these 
classes usually number fifty pupils, which is too much, 
but probably inevitable, unless the local expenditure 
on education is a good deal increased. 

The staff consists of twenty-seven, of whom ten 
are uncertificated ; they are fairly hard-worked, not so 
much because of the magnitude of the work itself, 
which means an average of forty pupils for every 
teacher, as because of the vitality of the children, 
which makes them distinctly unruly. The infants 
* There are four schools, but they occupy only two buildings. 


especially are so healthy and strong as to be un- 
manageable at times ; it's an ill wind, . . . and I 
suppose the teachers are not sorry at heart to find 
their charges so obstreperous. The school work 
follows the ordinary curriculum, so that it is un- 
necessary to say anything about the teaching itself, 
except that it is carried on under the best conditions. 

The schools must, of course, admit as many 
children as the local authority may fix ; thus the Port 
Sunlight schools, which were originally intended for 
Village children only, must now admit a number of 
outsiders. This is an excellent thing for the latter, 
and competition for entrance is keen, but a comparison 
between the physique and condition of Village and 
outside children reflects badly on the latter. The 
register bears the names of 1239 children, out of 
whom the average attendance for 1907 was 1046. 
This comprises 173 infants under five and 228 between 
five and seven, or together 40 per cent, of the total. 

Control of the school is vested in the six managers, 
out of whom the local authority appoints as usual two, 
but it is interesting to note that Messrs. Lever Brothers 
have foregone their privilege of selecting four managers : 
they appoint only two, whilst the other two are 
elected by the villagers. Thus, though the schools 
were originally " voluntary," the people have the 
majority on the committee ; it may be for this reason 
that there has never been any religious trouble at 
Port Sunlight. The teaching is undenominational, 
and is accepted by all the sects ; indeed, up to the 
foundation of the Roman Catholic school at New 
Ferry, the children of the large Irish colony attended 
without a single protest. I do not want to fight the 


threadbare case of the so-called "Education" Bills 
over again, but it is permissible to wonder whether 
the quarrel is not one between "politicals," not 
between chapel- and church-goers. 

It would be interesting to describe the Kindergarten 
held every Sunday, which is attended by some 400 
serious infants, but it is impossible to convey an 
impression of the cordiality which pervades the pro- 
ceedings. Ranged on tiny green-backed chairs sit the 
babes in solemn rows, singing simple hymns, cold- 
shouldering simple questions, or totally absent from 
the lesson, contemplating a visitor who is anxious to 
see them at work. The Kindergarten methods are at 
Port Sunlight followed with great success and with 
the best appliances ; every child has its board and its 
sand tray, and there are many collective building and 
picture games. They were introduced and developed 
thanks to the efforts of the well-known expert, Mr. 
Archibald. Something must be said of the Cradle 
Roll, for it means a great deal in baby life at Port 
Sunlight. Every child is at birth entered upon this 
roll, and, on its first birthday, it is " received " by its 
seniors, the eldest of whom are not seven years old ; 
the newcomer is admitted after one of his future com- 
panions has made him a friendly speech. This little 
institution is connected with the Sunday school, for 
which it hopes to make recruits, but its principal claim 
to notice is that it interests young children in their 
baby brothers and sisters, and links them together by 
investing with a ceremonial character the three suc- 
cessive celebrations of one another's birthdays, in 
which all take part ; after the third birthday the "new 
boy " joins the Sunday school itself. 


Attached to the elementary schools are the cookery 
and carpentry classes. When we consider the notorious 
want of management that prevails among so many 
working-class households, it is unnecessary to sing the 
praises of the first of these institutions. Every girl 
between the ages of eleven and fourteen is taught 
plain cooking, and also invalid and vegetable cookery, 
given a thorough knowledge of the dietary that is 
suitable for infants, of the use of the mangle, and fine 
laundry work. The classes are small, consisting as a rule 
of only eighteen girls, and are keenly interested. The 
wood-working class is compulsory for the boys between 
the ages of twelve and fourteen ; they are taught the 
use of tools, the properties of various kinds of wood 
(mainly so as to develop their powers of observation), 
and are put to practical work, such as the making of 
boxes, knife-trays, simple articles of furniture, frames, 
etc. The class is excellently equipped, and much of 
the work is highly creditable, especially as all the 
articles manufactured by the boys are useful. The 
pupils are taken in small classes of not more than 
twenty, and are very keen. 

As an encouragement to the children, Mr. Lever 
has for the last seven years given scholarships to the 
most promising boys and girls. Six are allocated 
every year, three to the boys and three to the girls ; 
they allow the children to continue their studies at 
Secondary Schools. So far forty-four of these scholar- 
ships have been given, and there is keen competition 
for them. 

Co-education prevails in all Port Sunlight schools. 
This system, which has so often been virulently attacked 
in this country, does not seem to have had at Port 


Sunlight the dread moral and intellectual results fore- 
shadowed by its opponents. Indeed, so far as can be 
judged from the appearance of the children and the 
statements of the teachers, co-education at Port Sun- 
light abundantly justifies the words of Mrs. Ennis 

" Under such a system girls learn to be women just 
as boys learn to be men, with a completeness and fulness 
utterly impossible under the ordinary system of separation." 

Whether co-education or general excellence of 
buildings and system lies at the root of results, great 
compliments have been paid to the Port Sunlight 
schools, for the Chester Training, College for Teachers 
and the Edgehill Training College, Liverpool, have 
approached the authorities with a view to taking 
visits of observation for their students. 

Religious education is a feature at Port Sunlight. 
Various small organizations, such as the Bible Read- 
ing Association and the Bible Class connected with 
the Cricket Club, give up a good deal of time to the 
subjects, but the chief forces at work are, of course, 
the Boys' Brigade and the Sunday school. The 
brigade has over forty members, and would be much 
stronger if two rival bodies in the neighbourhood did 
not take toll of the Port Sunlight boys. Members 
pay 6d. a year and 6d. for a cap, the belt and haversack 
being supplied free. Over and above their weekly 
drill, the boys are trained in ambulance work, signal- 
ling, and shooting ; all look clean and well set-up. 
They mostly attend a Sunday morning Bible Class 
under their captain and a helper, though they are not 
compelled to do so. 


The Sunday school itself is an important organiza- 
tion, for it has over 1000 members, or 65 to 70 per 
cent, of the Village children. So large is it that it has 
been divided into three departments, and runs classes 
totalling 500 children at a time. The school trains 
its own teachers, who are recruited from among young 
men and girls of fifteen to sixteen ; in spite of the fact 
that the duties are somewhat onerous, and that no 
reward is attached to the position, the application list 
is always full. A number of Sunday evening lantern 
services are held throughout the winter. Before 
passing on to the Technical Institute, we should 
mention that some twenty Port Sunlight scholars 
(mainly boys) have passed on to training colleges, 
and are now fully certificated teachers in public 
elementary schools. 

The Technical Institute, a gift of Mr. Lever's, has 
become the seat of the Bebington Centre. It is a fine 
building situated at the most northern point of the 
estate, contiguous to New Ferry, and easily accessible 
from Bebington. Technical centres often suffer from 
lack of space, but the institute has the great advantage 
of being large enough to accommodate all the classes 
at the same time. The fees for training are in all 
cases low, 2s. 6d to los. per annum, and a large 
number of free studentships are granted to regular 
attendants. The course covers three years, and all 
classes are, of course, held in the evening. A notable 
point is that the committee has introduced " com- 
pulsory guidance " of the students ; instead of allow- 
ing the latter, as is too often done, to study as much, 
or as little, as they choose, it now compels them to 
select a group of subjects, and to attend regularly 


under penalties, such as fines (if the student does not 
attend at fourteen lessons in each subject), or even 
suspension. At the end of the three years' course the 
most promising students receive scholarships which 
take them to higher centres in Liverpool, Birkenhead, 
or Chester ; by this means technical education may 
be prolonged to five years in all. Examinations are 
held by the Lancashire and Cheshire Union of 
Technical Institutes, which delivers certificates ; certain 
classes also prepare the student for the examination 
of the Board of Education (Science and Art Depart- 

The curriculum is wide. It comprises a full know- 
ledge of commercial arithmetic, economic geography, 
business methods and correspondence, shorthand (one 
hundred and twenty) and typewriting, book-keeping 
and accountancy, French, German, mathematics and 
practical draughtsmanship, general physics, geometry 
(including solids), elementary trigonometry, mechanics 
(theoretical and applied), building and machine con- 
struction, wood-carving, freehand drawing, needlework, 
dressmaking, cookery, domestic economy, sick nursing, 
and ambulance work. This is an extensive programme, 
and it is therefore not surprising that the attendance 
should average five hundred. 

In connection with higher education a most interest- 
ing departure has lately been made at Port Sunlight, 
which shows how much value is attached to the 
mental development of the workers. It was announced 
in June, 1908, that from July I onwards, no employee 
under eighteen would be engaged unless he or 
she should have attained a specified standard in the 
schools. Furthermore, all employees between the 


ages of fourteen and eighteen are henceforth, as a 
condition of their employment, to attend evening 
continuation schools. These rules are now in force for 
existing employees between the ages of fourteen and 
sixteen and are optional for those at present between 
the ages of sixteen and eighteen ; in both cases the 
total cost of education will be defrayed by the Company. 
This is an important innovation, for we know only too 
well how insufficient, and how unsatisfactory, is the 
education which a child can obtain before the age of 
fourteen ; it is certain that this wise and generous 
scheme will be fraught with momentous results. If 
the conditions of labour were in all industrial centres 
as good as they are at Port Sunlight, it would be a 
good thing to establish these schools on a compulsory 
legal basis. Young persons are, however, not every- 
where so well housed, and so well fed, as they are in 
the Village, and we must therefore be content with 
such partial improvement as that which will result 
from this enlightened piece of initiative. 

This necessary survey of education is far too 
short to show how thoroughly, and in how many 
directions, the child is cared for in a city of ideas 
which is also a city of ideals, but that is unavoidable. 
A result and a cause in one education is doing 
for Port Sunlight a great and good work. It is worth 
observing that one unconsciously returns at the end of 
this survey to the train of thought which ran through 
its first part, that the effects of education, and the 
determining factors of education, react so intimately 
upon one another as to leave one wondering whether 
it will bring about the millennium, or more humbly 
follow in its sumptuous train. 




It appears clearly enough from the foregoing pages 
that the influence of Port Sunlight has been something 
more than healthful and educational. The little com- 
munity lives however under such unusual conditions, so 
many of its citizens have lived there for ten years or more 
and so many, now growing up, have been born within its 
limits, that a something, intangible and peculiar, seems 
to have moulded the character of the Sunlighters into 
a novel shape. Many sidelights and digressions in the 
course of the preceding chapters must to a certain 
extent have given a clue to the attitude of the people, 
but this was necessarily done in haphazard and piece- 
meal fashion ; it may be well, therefore, to return to 
the subject in detail. 

It must be obvious, too obvious, that the people of 
our slums have been influenced by their terrible sur- 
roundings, that evil conditions have sometimes degraded 
them so far as to falsify their tradition of humanity. 
It is, therefore, permissible to say that good conditions 
must have modified to a commensurate degree those 
who have been so fortunate as to settle in the Village. 
Experience confirms, besides, that which theory dic- 
tates ; it cannot be denied that local influence has been 
at work at Port Sunlight, and that the community is 
developing a type with clear-cut qualities and defects. 
Obviously this influence must grow, and with it will 
increase the characteristics of the Port Sunlight type. 


This process, normal enough in the counties and in 
large cities such as London or Manchester, is rather 
unusual in small towns: there is no St. Albans type, 
no Westcliff type. In Port Sunlight, however, con- 
ditions are so different from those of the immediate 
neighbourhood that it is almost possible to identify the 
inhabitants, and even more possible to identify the 

Some of the more outstanding characteristics, the 
purely external, have been reviewed in Chapter VIII. 
Thus it is enough to recall the ever-present feeling that 
Port Sunlight has erected a shrine for the worship 
of cleanliness ; spotless streets, trim gardens, white 
curtains, such is the impression that the visitor inevit- 
ably carries away with him, whether he remain in the 
Village for two hours or two weeks. Among the 
cottages I visited, all thoroughly clean, there is one 
which will remain impressed upon my memory. Its 
rental is 5^. $d. a week (including rates), and it is at 
present occupied by a labourer earning 23^. a week ; 
his family consists of his wife and two daughters who 
are too young to work, and he has no room for a 
lodger. The benefit society absorbs gd. a week, so 
that the family has to deal with a balance of only i/j. 
a week. This very narrow income has to provide for 
the food, fuel, clothing, recreation, and incidental ex- 
penses of two adults and two children : by what 
prodigies of economy this is achieved I do not pretend 
to say ; the fact, however, remains that the house is 
a home in the best sense of the word, and that the 
family is undisguisedly happy. In the living-room is 
good and far from tasteless furniture ; some fifty 
books occupy the shelves of a small bookcase ; the 



boards are scrubbed, the tiles obviously well rinsed, 
the curtains white. The atmosphere is restful with 
that restfulness that tells of hard work done to obtain 
it, but everywhere content and happiness, its fair fruit, 
make their presence felt. These people are poor, but 
they have retained or regained their " humanhood " : 
the parents are kindly and courteous ; the children are 
well mannered and well spoken, and have developed 
a family taste for music. A singular sweetness breathes 
from the tiny home when the father returns and the 
day's work is done. 

The atmosphere of peace is felt everywhere, for the 
Sunlighters are a sedate race. The wonderful organiza- 
tion of the Village, its readiness for all emergencies 
and all individualities, have reacted upon the people, 
have made them sober and deliberate beyond even 
the standards of the North. Regularity and method 
seem to make the leisure of the people as ordered as 
their labour ; self-imposed though it be, their discipline 
is strict, and they seem ideally fitted by their residence 
in a model community to become one day dwellers in 
an ideal state. 

There is no unrestrained youth in Port Sunlight ; 
the offensive vulgarity that grates upon us in so many 
of our industrial cities seems altogether absent. The 
barbarian that lives equally in the London hooligan 
.and in the undergraduate is either kept well in check 
or has never developed. Perhaps the Port Sunlighter 
knows of no bounds perhaps he is ideally free : at 
any rate, he does not seem to chafe, to nurse the ever- 
lasting desire of some of our youth to shout, throw 
stones, or fall foul of the police. Indeed, one cannot 
help being impressed, especially on Sundays, by the 

THE SUNDAY SCHOOL. [ To face p. 178. 


power that has made the villager into the quiet, orderly 
citizen that he is. 

Sedate and well disciplined as he is, the Port 
Sunlighter must owe a great deal to the atmosphere 
of morality and piety that he drinks in at every breath. 
The North supplies most of our enthusiasts, our 
dreamers and leaders : here, the men of the North, 
with an admixture of neighbouring Welsh and Irish 
Celts have not belied but more than justified their 
reputation. The Sunlighter impresses one as more 
deeply but more reasonably religious than is the case 
with members of many other communities ; a service 
at Christ Church is interesting if only because of the 
large number of men who attend. Wherever religion 
is dying, whether by its own narrowness or its sterility, 
we find that it is men who first desert its ranks ; the 
women, last defenders of lost causes, remain to the end. 
Thus, wherever we find a church whose congregation 
consists almost entirely of women, we have a dying 
church ; it is far from my intention to compare un- 
favourably the value to a church of a woman as 
opposed to that of a man, but a preponderance of 
either sex is always a sign. At Port Sunlight the 
male portion of the congregation is large and earnest. 
The people are always ready to come to services, to 
make their religion a truly living thing ; in fact, they 
vindicate by the fact of their existence the value of " a 
church for the comfortable," for to them it is as much 
as to their poorer brethren, if not more. 

Bound up with religion is morality, and it is signi- 
ficant that they go hand in hand. Religious feeling, 
or rather devoutness, singularly enough, does not 
always make for purity of life, as is shown by the 


standards which prevail in Southern Europe. In 
England, on the other hand, morality and religious 
feeling are usually found together, and nowhere are 
they more closely allied than at Port Sunlight. 
Standards are certainly wonderfully rigid in the little 
town ; the " oldest inhabitant " could only recall one 
elopement and in 1907 there was only one illegitimate 
birth, or about four times less than the average for 
Great Britain ; during the last dozen years only two 
persons have been involved in what may be called a 
village scandal. These are truly remarkable facts, and 
show, in regard to what we know of industrial condi- 
tions and of the holocaust of souls that is revealed 
every day in our police courts, what a revolution has 
been worked in the habits of the people. This 
revolution is, as has already been said, traceable in 
great part to sobriety. The connection that exists 
between temperance, good housing, and morality is 
powerful though elusive ; so much, however, has 
already been said on this subject in the foregoing 
chapters that it is enough to place on record that the 
spirit of Port Sunlight is one of sobriety and self- 

All this might lead us to think that these religious, 
moral, sober, and sedate men and women represent a 
rather hard and narrow type. We might expect to 
find the Sunlighter puritanical, and he does not 
entirely escape the imputation. It is possible that 
he is rather pronounced in his virtues, that something 
of the spirit of New England breathes in him, but if 
this be in truth a newer England then let us hope 
that the movement begun at Port Sunlight will not 
slacken. Puritanically inclined though he may be the 



II 1 1 Ml 


II ! I I II 


j [TTTTT1 






[To face p. 180. 


Sunlighter has not given up innocent pleasures ; he 
has not become hard or intolerant. As far as can be 
judged from undenominational services and teaching, 
freedom in library and reading-rooms, the character 
of lectures, etc., the effort of the community is towards 
breadth and light. For this breadth of spirit some 
credit is due also to the important excursions which 
are organized from time to time at Port Sunlight. A 
community which has been transported bodily to 
Paris, to Liege, to the Franco-British Exhibition, etc., 
has enjoyed some of the enlarging experiences of 
travel and knowledge of the world beyond its own 
local surroundings. This community cannot help being 
influenced by comfort, any more than it can help 
aiming at it, but while it escapes over-spiritualization 
it does not become materialistic. In fact, it is neither 
puritanical nor anti-puritanical : it is well regulated 
and, intellectually speaking, emphatically sane and 
well balanced. The virtue of cheerfulness, so alien 
to the severer forms of worship, is everywhere flour- 
ishing, for the Sunlighter who clearly makes a 
business of work also makes a business of pleasure. 
Dances, picnics, lectures, and entertainments of all 
sorts follow in rapid rotation, so that the community 
remains young in its appreciation of pleasure as a 

In no direction is cheerfulness so apparent as in 
the case of the children. The little folk have not 
escaped the influence that works on their elders : the 
infants are too healthy not to be unruly, but their 
seniors between the ages of six and fourteen give the 
visitor a curious impression of discipline and self- 
control. They are not repressed: their ideas flow 


quickly, but their general tone is one both thoughtful 
and cautious. Their northern ancestry is of course 
partly responsible for their sober outlook, but educa- 
tion and favourable conditions have directed into the 
channels of thought tendencies that evil surroundings 
would have exaggerated into dourness. And no 
wonder, for the most outstanding trait of the Port 
Sunlight spirit is the love borne to the children. The 
child is the primary care of the Sunlighter, his hobby, 
his most sacred responsibility ; indeed, this community 
probably echoes a sentiment expressed to me by one 
of the men in the Village : " We must do all we can 
for those under sixteen." This great task is safe in 
the hands that control it, for the young and the weak 
are not forgotten at Port Sunlight. The care, the 
quasi-pampering bestowed on the girls as opposed to 
the sterner treatment of men is an evidence of this 
concern for the weak ; the community thinks well of 
cheap food, free transit, free baths, free meals, etc., for 
the girls, because they need these advantages, and 
who will deny it ? The result of all this is obvious : 
the weak are passing strong and natural disabilities 
are redressed. Nowhere do we see ragged or bootless 
children the under-fed child is almost unheard of 
indeed, the younger section is so remarkably living, 
vital, devoid of shyness, that it makes nothing of 
stopping the stranger in the street and engaging 'him 
in interminable though elementary conversations. 

Such tendencies as these go naturally with the 
appreciation of home life. The Sunlighters are a 
stay-at-home race : indeed, in the evening they seem 
to disappear. One may find half a dozen men at the 
inn, perhaps thirty at the club, probably a hundred or 



so at various meetings, but the remaining 3400 odd 
souls remain at home. By ten, or before it, the streets 
are deserted, and the lights which as the sun went 
down appeared in the windows are one by one 
extinguished and the Village sleeps. Hard work, 
simple and thoughtful pleasures is not such an ideal 
worth striving after and cherishing ? 

The Sunlighters work hard, but they are also 
inclined to play hard. The spirit of the Village is one 
of keenness and activity ; things done and things in 
the doing are everywhere to be seen and every one is 
convinced that the earth revolves round the axis of his 
own personal interest. Nowhere is this more apparent 
than in the societies, whose secretaries are one and all 
dominated by the ambition of seeing their charges 
become not only prosperous but larger than any other 
society. It would be invidious to quote instances, but 
there is keen competition among the athletic societies 
and the intellectual societies to secure new members. 
The two groups stand aloof from one another, each 
one taking up an attitude of superiority, but inside 
each group competition is fierce ; teachers, nurses, 
officials, are all equally keen. Anything healthier or 
more conducive to a good mental tone cannot be 
imagined : the societies keep one another up to the 
mark. Thus every secretary seems certain that his 
society is of all the most vigorous, or the most 
promising, or the most intelligent, etc. This spirit 
has fostered in the Sunlighters both sociability and 
democratic feeling. It would be a lengthy and not 
very useful piece of work to find out exactly how 
many of the inhabitants are members of one society 
or more, but the total membership of the institutions 


for adults (excluding the stores and the benefit society 
as purely business concerns) is about 2500.* Of these 
a certain number are outsiders, but the total is highly 
satisfactory as showing that of about 1700 persons over 
twenty-one living in the Village, every man or woman 
in Port Sunlight is on an average a member of more 
than one society. There is no doubt that this large 
membership means continual association between the 
villagers meetings, dances, picnics, etc., where they 
can exchange ideas ; thus the spirit of sociability, 
inimical to suspicion and prejudice, seems to breathe 
among the people and makes them fit for the boon of 
democratic government. 

At Port Sunlight democracy is, at the same time, 
living and quiescent. On the one hand, owing to the 
fact that the estate is managed as is usual on private 
property, but still more so because the tenants are 
employees of the landlord, democracy is not very 
active ; tenants have no voice in the making of rules, 
nor have they any voice in the management of the 
estate. There is no special reason to complain 
especially of this, for such is the position on most 
private estates, with this difference, that the manage- 
ment is almost disinterested, and that its only care is 
the comfort of the tenants. Besides, the latter have 
their urban district council vote and can powerfully 
influence local administration. On the other hand, 
democratic feeling seems strong because the people 
are being trained in self-government by means in 
great part of their societies. Thus it is not surprising 
to find them wide awake and ready to attend political 

* This takes no account either of trade unions, friendly societies, or 
the holiday club. 


meetings in a controversial spirit. Should their apti- 
tude for further democratic government ultimately be 
put to the test by the institution of an advisory council 
there is very little reason to think that they will not 
rise to their task. 

The last and prominent feature of the spirit of 
Port Sunlight lies in that most important factor of 
industrial institutions : good feeling between employer 
and employee. It is not too much to say that at Port 
Sunlight Mr. W. H. Lever's ideal " to socialize and 
Christianize business relations " has been attained. 
By its achievements in that respect the scheme stands 
or falls. It is unfortunately too true that the relations 
between Capital and Labour have Assumed the shape 
of an armed truce, a truce which is every day broken 
by strikes and lock-outs. Such a state of things was 
inevitable as industry passed more out of the hands of 
the small employer and into those of powerful com- 
binations owned by absentee shareholders. Contact 
between employer and employee having been inter- 
rupted or rather restricted to the sole medium of a 
manager who is as much part of the dividend-earning 
machinery as is the engine in the boiler-room, mutual 
interest naturally disappeared. Thus vanished those 
palliatives of mutual interest, work in common, and 
friendliness which alone justify the holding in trust of 
private enterprises. In the words of Mrs. Besant* 
" the denial of human sympathy by the employer in 
his business relations with his * hands,' has taught 
the 'hands' to regard the employer as outside the 
pale of their sympathy." It is against this tendency, 
against this fatal result of modern industrial practice, 
* Fabian Essays, " Industry under Socialism." 


that the founders of Port Sunlight have sallied out* 
and the spirit of the Village fully justifies their efforts. 

When I was at Port Sunlight I interviewed a 
number of men and women of all ranks, some of 
whom were drawing the minimum wage of 22s. or but 
little more. Close cross - questioning never elicited 
anything but expressions of cordial feeling towards 
Mr. Lever and his co-directors. The inhabitants 
mostly remember other and less favoured spots, and 
are keenly conscious of the benefits they derive from 
their residence in the Village. Moreover, they recognize 
how good are the conditions under which they labour 
and gratefully acknowledge their excellence. The 
spirit of the Village is, however, something more. To 
accept benefits and to be thankful for them is well, 
but if such a feeling were all, it is not certain that the 
inhabitants ought altogether to be congratulated, for 
they would only be accepting patronage. There is, 
however, evidence of the existence of a closer relation 
between employer and employees, of personal acquaint- 
ance and personal liking. This is shown in many 
ways, every one small, yet every one important. 

Contact between masters and men is frequent at 
Port Sunlight ; formerly it was still closer, for Mr. 
Lever was chairman of the various Village institutions' 
committees, but these have now grown so numerous 
that the alternative was either favouritism and conse- 
quent jealousy or an undue amount of work, so that 
he had to resign these positions. Nowadays, however, 
Mr. Lever, his co-directors, and the general manager 
frequently assist at lectures and meetings ; they also 
go to all the important entertainments. A small 
incident at one of the weekly dances went far to 


convince me of the excellence of the relations between 
employers and employees. It was a very large dance 
given to the girls in the soap-packing department, 
and was attended by Mr. Lever, his family, and 
the general manager. One of the young girls came 
up to the latter and, reminding him that it was leap 
year, asked him to be her partner, which he, of course, 
did at once. Could such an incident take place if 
relations were not thoroughly cordial ? I was informed 
also by a young foreman that Mr. Lever himself would 
certainly have been approached without hesitation if 
he had not left the hall at that moment. Similar 
signs of personal interest were noticeable also at the 
women's guild, the meetings of which are frequently 
attended by the families of the directors. 

All this goes to show that Port Sunlight has done 
more than house its inhabitants well ; the good con- 
ditions of labour and the contact between the different 
grades have gone far towards combating prejudice 
and class antagonism. It is therefore not too much to 
say that the Port Sunlight spirit, this new and more 
Christian feeling, is one of the fairest fruits of the 
system. The spectacle of loyal co-operation in labour, 
mutual trust and liking, and above all the understand- 
ing of the differences of outlook due to pecuniary 
circumstances, are most encouraging when we re- 
member how great and threatening is the gulf that 
separates those who own the instruments of production 
from those who use them. Perhaps, if the lesson be 
read by other men, evolution may lead us on somewhat 
similar lines towards a culmination when that which 
is the best and the truest of life will be enjoyed by all 
men alike. 



Port Sunlight has been the subject of a number of 
chapters in various books, of many references in large 
works, and of so many magazine articles, that it is 
not uninteresting to inquire into the impression made 
by the Village and the Works upon some of the 
authors. Before doing this, I would refer the reader 
to Part II. of the present chapter for the opinion of the 
men, and to the next chapter for that of the employer. 
We must remember that by reason of the large number 
of trade unions, the members of which are employed 
at the Works, it has been found impossible to obtain 
anything like a general opinion. Facts, however, speak 
for themselves ; the northern branches are not given 
to leaving their members in distress, and it is certain 
that they would have been up in arms if occasion had 
arisen. It is therefore enough to repeat that, thanks 
to good conditions, fair treatment, and a minimum 
wage which is never below, and often above, trade 
union rates, there has never been at Port Sunlight 
either a strike or the menace of a strike. This fact 
certainly speaks volumes, and goes far to establish 
firmly the reputation as employers of the founders of 
Port Sunlight. 

Among the social students who have visited and 
written of Port Sunlight, let us note Mr. Vallenda, 
whose important German work contains many com- 
plimentary references to the Port Sunlight system, 


and M. Georges Benoit-Levy, whose book on Garden 
Cities (in French) has attracted a great deal of atten- 
tion. As it is more recent than Mr. Vallenda's (it was 
published in 1904), a few of his remarks are well 
worth quoting. M. Benoit-Levy devotes about thirty 
pages to Port Sunlight ; this, of course, gives only a 
general idea of the scheme, but it very successfully 
outlines its most important social and financial features. 
M. Levy seems very favourably impressed with the 
Village, of which he says (according to a translation in 
pamphlet form) : 

"One must have travelled a little in England and 
visited the industrial English towns to understand the 
surprise which the sudden appearance of Port Sunlight 
produced. One feels as if leaving the towns of the Devil 
and suddenly entering the Garden of Eden." 

This, perhaps, puts the case rather strongly, for Port 
Sunlight is hardly a fairy land, where the inhabitants 
live lives of leisure and " drink the subtle Azzigoom." 
Our author also fully realizes the value of communal 
life. Speaking of Hulme Hall he says : 

11 There is no doubt that the people, who are in constant 
contact with one another, develop a different kind of 
individuality to individuals who lead an isolated and 
secluded life. Now, thanks to the constant and daily 
contact, the sense of sociability has a magnified scope of 

M. LeVy was particularly enthusiastic over the athletic 
societies, which is natural enough when we consider 
the small extent to which these have hitherto de- 
veloped in France, but he seems more deeply 


interested rather in the Port Sunlight idea than in its 
embodiment. He criticizes the government of the 
community as being too autocratic, but he seems 
entirely in sympathy with "prosperity-sharing," as 
opposed to " profit-sharing." He sums up his general 
opinion of the Village in enthusiastic terms : 

11 It is certainly the best of the kind we have seen. We 
have visited numerous working men's colonies where the 
houses are supplied by the employers, but we never came 
across an organization which was so perfect from every 
point of view." 

The reader of the subject-matter of the foregoing 
pages will surely agree that there are good grounds 
for M. Benoit-Levy's approval. 

Among British works on social subjects we may 
note " Housing Up-to-date," by Alderman W. Thomp- 
son, the premier authority on the matter. In this 
book Alderman Thompson does not devote very much 
space to Port Sunlight, for he aims above all at pro- 
ducing a convenient compendium of information, and 
his is an enormous subject. He appears much im- 
pressed by the statistics with regard to the health of 
the children ; in his opinion : 

" Nothing is more striking in the village than the care 
and interest manifested towards the children, and the happy 
results that have followed." 

Mr. Thompson is also much interested in the licensing 
of Bridge Inn, and appears to accept this development 
with equanimity. Thus : 

" Those responsible for the good government and 


management of the Village have assured the writer that the 
change has been beneficial rather than otherwise to the 
social and moral well-being of the inhabitants." 

Lastly, let us quote a few remarks from " Model 
Factories and Villages," by the late Mr. Budgett 
Meakin, who probably knew more about conditions of 
labour than any man of his period. Mr. Meakin com- 
ments on the industrial conditions of the Factory, on' 
the free trains, shower-baths, etc. He is also much 
impressed by the size and efficiency of Hulme Hall, 
the extent of the club grounds, and the library. He 
is of opinion that "the suggestion boxes provide an 
admirable stimulus." Mr. Meakin's observations are 
scattered throughout his book, which makes it difficult 
of quotation, but it is interesting to put on record that 
he thinks the schools "splendidly fitted," the public 
hall " a model of convenience and simplicity for any 
village," and the inn " most attractive." 

In fact, it is almost impossible to find in any 
authoritative work condemnation of the objects 
pursued at Port Sunlight, or of the methods applied 
to attain them ; minor criticisms, such as those which 
occur in these chapters, are made by various authors, 
some justified, some rather prejudiced, but the con- 
sensus of opinion is so strongly in favour of Port 
Sunlight that one almost fears to quote too abundantly 
for fear of being carried away and indulging in dithy- 
rambics. If, however, we consider the foregoing facts 
one by one, we are driven to agree with the common 
judgment of these social students, and to accept the 
Village as the nearest approach to ideal conditions. 



THE foregoing chapters must have conjured up an 
idyllic picture, and I will not overload it with colour. 
It is permissible to say that the Village is, from the 
point of view of the employee, an ideal institution 
that it gives him most of those things that make life 
worth living that it sows in him the seeds of moral 
and physical health. There is, however, another and 
perhaps more important point of view, for nowadays 
we too often find that an appeal in the sacred name 
of humanity is ineffectual, whilst the prospect of gain is 
always attractive ; that is the employer's point of view. 
For him the value of a social scheme must be summed 
up in two questions : " What does it cost ? " and 
" Does it pay ? " 

In a sense the value of a scheme and its future 
prospects must be gauged by the answers to those two 
questions. A social venture cannot be called social 
unless it is going to pay its way. In an imperfect 
civilization, where the distribution of land is bad and 
the regulation of industry non-existent, sheer philan- 
thropy is a necessity. It is true that philanthropy 
creates the evil it relieves, but we cannot sweep it 
away until a constructive social policy has enabled us 


to minimize if not to destroy the evils against which it 
struggles. If, therefore, a social scheme is to avoid 
making half a dozen paupers for every man it rescues, 
if it is to rise from the level of a necessary evil to that 
of a working part of the world's machinery, its basis 
must be a practical understanding. A social scheme 
should show credits as well as debits ; we do not expect 
to earn profits from housing or land policies, but we 
do expect these ventures to show, by defraying the 
bulk of their own cost, that they are both necessary and 
vigorous. Thus a municipal tramway scheme is good 
if it pays, bad if it does not ; this must be understood 
broadly, for payment can be made in coin or in kind ; 
the Thames steamboats did not pay in cash, but it can 
be argued that they paid in convenience or pleasure, 
like a museum or a park. 

If, however, we abandon the analogy of public 
social schemes and confine ourselves to private ventures 
the position somewhat alters. Whereas it is obviously 
in the interest of the community to promote the well- 
being of its component parts, it is apparently in the 
interest of the individual to promote nothing but his 
own. This is a grim and sordid view, but facts must 
be faced, if we are to think clearly ; the manufacturer 
does not run a factory merely for the purpose of em- 
ploying workmen. It is for this reason that it becomes 
all important to determine whether such a scheme as 
Port Sunlight pays. If it pays it is a great scheme, 
for its profits are not gained at the expense of the 
workers ; if it does not pay, then it is bounty-fed 
and demoralizing. 

Before attempting to ascertain whether Port Sun- 
light pays it is important to see what it costs. At first 



sight this appears easy, but funds flow out in so many 
ways that it is difficult to arrive at exact figures. 
Roughly, however, we find that at the present time 
the profits of the soapworks are, subject to deductions, 
worth about 35,000 a year.* This large amount is 
made up of the following items : 

* * 

Old Age Pensions (1907) .. .. 8,000 o o 
Interest contribution (1907) .. .. 24,680 10 o 
Interest and Amortization on Church 
and Technical Institute, Contribu- 
tions to Benefit Society, Interest 
allowances, etc., say .. .. 3,000 o o 

Some of these items have already been dealt with. 
The cost of the old age pension scheme is not quite 
within the scope of this discussion ; it is a compas- 
sionate allowance, and as it comes after the worker's 
career is ended it does not, in theory, affect his labour 
very much. The influence it may have is indirect ; in 
a sense it places him in a position to abstain from 
saving, and encourages a higher standard of living, but 
this is far from absolute ; the worker who would rely 
on the firm's old age pension, though in a position to 
save a little himself, would Aot be worth helping. He 
would be showing himself improvident, for the old age 
pension is a privilege, not a right a privilege he would 
forego if he left the Works. Besides, the old age 
pension is not large, and the worker must supplement 
it himself. It appears, therefore, that this form of 
prosperity-sharing does not affect the question very 

* Including the value of Mr. Lever's personal gifts to the com- 


much. The same may be said of the item of ,3000. 
The Church and the Technical Institute are gifts of Mr. 
Lever ; in a sense they also are part of the prosperity- 
sharing, but many rich men who have not introduced 
any schemes of this nature have also showered gifts 
upon certain localities. If, therefore, we take 25,000 
as being about the sum which is specifically subtracted 
from profits for the purpose of assisting the Village 
account, we shall have an approximately correct idea 
of the cost to the firm of the Village itself. 

Given that this sum of 25,000 is handed over to 
the community of villagers, their balance sheet can be 
roughly summed up as follows : 


Income from rents, etc. 8,000 

Expenditure .. .. 33,000 

Prosperity -sharing . . 25,000 


These 25,000, being handed to the community, the 
question then arises : " How should it be handed 
over ? " The value of the bonus being calculated at 
an average of 8 for every employee, the logical 
answer would be, " Pay every employee an average of 
S." That would be profit-sharing in its crude form, 
and with such a course would be bound up all the 
evils discussed at length in Chapter I. I will not 
return to the subject, but must quote the opinion of 
Mr. Lever himself, as expressed in an interview he 


gave M. Benoit-Levy * in 1903, in the following 
terms : 

" If I were to follow the usual mode of profit-sharing 

I would send my workmen and work girls to the cash office 
at the end of the year and say to them : ' You are going 
to receive & each ; you have earned this money ; it 
belongs to you. Take it and make whatever use you like 
of it. Spend it in the public-house ; have a good spree at 
Christmas ; do as you like with your money.' Instead of 
that I told them : c ^8 is an amount which is soon spent, 
and it will not do you much good if you send it down your 
throats in the form of bottles of whisky, bags of sweets, 
or fat geese for Christmas. On the other hand, if you 
leave this money with me, I shall use it to provide for you 
everything which makes life pleasant, viz. nice houses, 
comfortable homes, and healthy recreation. Besides, I am 
disposed to allow profit-sharing under no other than that 

This is a clear, if blunt, statement of the case, and 
little need be added to it. It does not yet, however, 
reveal to us the employer's point of view ; it only 
shows us the man who wishes to do the best he can 
for his workers, not the man who wants to make them 
productive. These aims are, however, there, and Mr. 
Lever is at pains to assure and to show us that he is 
no philanthropist. The idea grows interesting when 
we are assured that " it pays." Briefly, the objects of 
Port Sunlight are as follows : 

1. To establish friendly relations between Capital 

and Labour. 

2. To get the men to do their best work. 

* See " The Garden City," by Georges Benoit-Levy. 


3. To make the men's comfort depend on the 

firm's prosperity. 

4. To put Capital in the right by treating the men 

as well as possible, leaving it to their con- 
science to repay. 

It will be seen from this that the idea of a return 
underlies the whole scheme. It is, of course, very 
difficult to prove that more soap and better soap is 
produced because the men are well housed ; but it is 
clear that there is a strong prima facie case to support 
the founder's expectations. It is easy to point to the 
enormous and growing profits of the soapworks, and 
to conclude that this state of things is due to the 
existence of the Village ; but such a course would 
savour vipost hoc, ergo propter hoc. The prosperity of 
the business is clearly due to its methods : an appre- 
ciation of these does not come within the scope of the 
present work. I do not think the managers of the 
firm would be so modest as to disclaim the credit due 
to them in view of the success of the firm ; it is pro- 
bable that the Works would have succeeded very well 
without any prosperity-sharing. Indeed, it is only 
because they were growing so fast at Warrington that 
they were removed to Port Sunlight. 

Nobody will deny, however, even if the opinion of 
the managers themselves be not accepted, that the 
Port Sunlight scheme must powerfully influence the 
quality and the quantity of the products. To establish 
friendly relations is already a great step. The modern 
chaos of industrialism shows us the master pitted 
against the man, the former trying to obtain from the 
worker a maximum amount of labour for a minimum 


amount of pay, the latter resolved to obtain a maxi- 
mum amount of pay for a minimum amount of labour. 
It shows us the worker ever ready to strike so as to 
obtain enhanced wages by force, the master willing to 
employ the blackleg and to starve his men into sub- 
mission. Can such a state of things tend towards a 
large and a sound production ? It cannot do so, for 
men are sensitive machines, and will neither produce 
their best work under compulsion, nor will they be 
able to do so when conditions are at their worst. 
Ability and willingness, therein lies the test, and the 
managers of Port Sunlight claim that the scheme has 
fostered both ; if any one should speak with authority 
they should. 

As regards ability they state that, their men being 
well fed, well housed, and cheerful, are able to produce 
more in their forty-eight hour week than their fellows 
who work longer hours under bad conditions. Evi- 
dence certainly goes to show that this is true, for there 
is a great deal of slacking in factories where the hours 
are long. At Port Sunlight the hours are short but 
well filled, so that the worker is not demoralized ; 
nothing is so bad for him as reduced efficiency, for his 
mental as well as his physical muscles grow soft. 
Besides, there is the question of health. With the 
best of intentions the ill-fed and weakly man will 
never turn out as much, let alone as good, work as if 
he were strong and cheerful. Capacity is one thing 
but willingness is another. Employees are too often 
inclined to do a minimum of work or to " scamp " it 
as much as they dare. In an ideal factory, where the 
worker enjoys ideal conditions, his point of view 
changes* In the first place, owing to the fact that 


an appeal is made, not to his worst but to his best side, 
his conscience is aroused ; he feels he must do as 
much and as good work as possible. At any rate, this 
is the experience of the managers at Port Sunlight, 
who state that the output and the quality per man 
have risen considerably during the last twenty years. 
They go so far as to say that in this increase they find 
a more than adequate return for the annual cost of the 
scheme. Apart, besides, from the awakened conscience 
of the worker there is a material influence which must 
not be underrated : the peculiar value of the post 
itself. The Sunlighter has more to lose than the 
ordinary worker; both have at stake their visible 
means of sustenance, but, whereas a change of employ- 
ment may not mean very much for the ordinary 
worker, for the Sunlighter it means giving up his 
cottage and all that goes with it. This cruder side of 
the question must not be ignored, for the factory 
worker feels very clearly that he must justify short 
hours and good conditions by good work. 

If we pass from the general to the particular, it is 
also clear that the men must be influenced by the 
knowledge that prosperity-sharing depends on there 
being prosperity to share. Thus, over and above the 
fear of losing at once both employment and citizenship 
of the Village, the worker feels that the continuance 
of benefits depends on the continuance of profits, and 
puts forth his best efforts. As he is working no 
longer for himself but for the good of the community 
to which he belongs he is thus gaining something as 
valuable as a happy home : an education in solidarity, 
in the knowledge that individual effort makes for the 
common good, an education in fraternity. 


I was informed that the scheme had had most 
influence not so much on the quantity as on the 
quality of the products. However efficient the manage- 
ment may be it cannot be everywhere. The divisional 
manager must rely on his foremen and they on their 
subordinates ; every man has something to do which 
it lies with him to do well enough to retain his 
billet or so very much better as to increase profits. 
If friendly feeling is engendered in the worker he 
naturally does his best, and it is this minute difference 
between good and very good which justifies the scheme 
in the eyes of its managers. Briefly, Port Sunlight is 
like a boat's crew, and it aims at encouraging the 
rowers to pull as hard as they can and all together. I 
was informed that the individual efficiency of the men 
has reacted to a remarkable degree upon the quality 
of the products, for they have become anxious to 
eliminate impurities. In a word, the firm states that 
any reputation it may have is a reputation for uniformity 
of product due almost entirely to the fact that the 
men will not allow flaws to mar their work. I have 
these facts direct, and they are worthy of credence, for 
it would be absurd to suggest that a limited liability 
company would continue such a scheme after twenty 
years' experience unless its directors had good reason 
to think that it paid. 

It is of the utmost importance that the Port 
Sunlight scheme should pay, apa*rt from its value to 
its own workers. If it were run at a loss, and the 
workers were conscious of the fact, they would be 
accepting doles and would become demoralized, but 
it is not easy to understand the economics of Port 
Sunlight, and there might be a loss without the 


workers knowing it, in which case they would benefit 
in health and education and yet retain their moral 
independence. The importance of our realizing that 
Port Sunlight is a paying venture lies in its value as 
an example to the industrial world. A certain number 
of manufacturers have already begun to see that it 
is to their advantage to improve in various ways 
the conditions of their employees ; in England we 
must note such firms as Messrs. Cadbury, Rowntree, 
Armstrong, Whitwprth & Co., Brunner, Mond & Co., 
Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs (Clarnico), etc. ; on the 
Continent, and especially in America, these examples 
are far more numerous. Mr. Budgett Meakin quoted 
no less than two hundred and fifty instances of 
important firms where the conditions had deliberately 
been improved. 

The importance of this question appears when we 
consider what prospects there are of other manu- 
facturers coming into line with these progressive firms ; 
these examples are precious, and the enormous 
development of such undertakings as the above clearly 
shows that good treatment of the men and good busi- 
ness often go together. If, little by little, similar 
schemes and minor improvements are everywhere 
introduced and react as favourably upon profits as 
they appear to have done at Port Sunlight, then there 
is hope for industrial England. A firm conviction on 
the part of the manufacturers that good treatment 
pays would effect a revolution which many years of 
factory legislation would fail to bring about. If we 
must appeal to the love of gain, then let us do so, 
for the first of our needs is to save the people, 
"to Christianize, socialize, industry," and we cannot 


afford to be particular as to the means to such an 

If we consider the profits of Messrs. Lever Brothers 
and the success of other firms that have done some- 
thing for the workers, we are driven to the hopeful 
conclusion that the new theory, " Humanity is the best 
policy," has begun to justify itself. As knowledge of 
the ventures spreads, of which Port Sunlight is so re- 
markable an instance, there is every reason to think 
that other manufacturers will be induced to join in the 
progressive movement, if only in their own interest. 
Thus, at last, we will be in a position to foresee the 
dawn of a new era, where man's inhumanity to man 
will be a decreasing quantity and commercial success 
will be commensurate with the kindly feeling upon 
which it rests. 

Such as it is, however, paying as it probably is 
also, Port Sunlight is not a constituted body ; it should 
not be forgotten that the will that ushered the Village 
into life can at a moment's notice thrust it back into 
nothingness. It is certain that, so long as Mr. W. H. 
Lever lives, the Village will continue, but surely such 
an institution as Port Sunlight should look forward to 
a longer life than that of a man. Indeed, if such a 
calamity as a large increase in rents were to befall the 
Village, say an average of three to four shillings, which 
would not compensate the firm for the prosperity- 
sharing contribution, the social results would be very 
grave. True, a generation or two would have been 
deeply influenced and several thousands of children 
would have been ideally fitted for the business of life, 
but, on the other hand, if the scheme were destroyed 
it would mean that it had failed commercially. If 


this were to happen the more generous development 
of commercialism would be checked and Port Sunlight 
would be added to the various phalansteries as an 
object lesson to the ardent. This peril is remote, but 
it is important to inquire what steps have been taken 
to cope with it. The answer is brief : no steps have 
or will be taken ; the scheme must fend for itself. 
The position was concisely stated to me by Mr. Lever 
himself in the following terms : 

" My intentions for the future are quite precise. I feel 
that the position is : either the scheme pays the shareholders 
or it does not. If it does and my successors are convinced 
that it does, then it will be continued on the same lines as 
at present; if, however, invested as they will be with 
authority and responsibility, and enjoying full knowledge 
of conditions, they find that the scheme does not pay, then 
it will disappear. Everything is to remain in situ, and Port 
Sunlight must live on its merits or die. I do not think it 
would be a good thing to establish it on a trust basis. If 
the village, as it stands, and its precedential subsidy were 
made over to trustees, the latter, whether they were 
employers or employees, would be bound by the provisions 
of the trust. Thus, for contact between employer and 
employee, would be substituted contact between employer- 
trustee and employee-trustee, which is a very different and 
less valuable thing. Moreover, if we were to constitute 
Port Sunlight into a trust, definite conditions of subsidy 
would have to be laid down, so that we should have a 
fixed basis and varying conditions. We might have per- 
manent benefits to the men and dwindling trade returns ; 
in brief we should have prosperity-sharing and no adversity- 

The foregoing states the case clearly from the 


employer's point of view, and it is difficult to take 
exception to it if we remember that Port Sunlight is a 
commercial and not a philanthropic undertaking if, 
especially, we admit that its chief value lies in its 
commercial character. In fact, given that the spirit of 
the above statement animates the management, it 
becomes all the more certain that the Village has 
already justified its existence, so that it has every 
reasonable chance of surviving as long as the Works 
themselves. The question of putting the scheme on 
a trust basis is more debatable. This has been done 
at Bournville, but it must be remembered that the two 
schemes are not comparable, and that there is, at 
Bournville, no definite industrial connection liable to 
be destroyed. It would seem very, difficult to adjust 
the commercial principle of Port Sunlight with that of 
a trust deed, because the subsidy would have to be a 
fixed quantity. It would be quite impossible to 
empower the trustees to control (say) 10 per cent, of 
the net profits of Messrs. Lever Brothers : the Village 
does not need 40,000 a year any more than it can 
manage with 20,000 ; it must have 25,000 every 
year, neither more nor less. If the subsidy were to 
fluctuate, then rents would have to vary proportionately, 
and all the old evils of irregular bonuses which have 
already been fully dealt with would come to the 
fore. If, on the other hand, the subsidy were to be 
fixed at (say) 25,000 a year, nothing tells us that 
after a few years the sum would not prove either 
inadequate or too large. Then, if it were inadequate, 
rents would have to be raised, and the usefulness of 
the Village destroyed, in so far as it could then no 
longer house the poorer worker or rents would go 


down so much that the employee's zeal would no 
longer be stimulated, and the commercial character of 
the scheme would vanish. It is, therefore, clear that 
things must remain as they are ; but there does not 
seem to be much reason to fear that a scheme, the 
growth of which has concurred so remarkably with 
that of the business, will be allowed to lapse. In fact, 
we can assume that Port Sunlight is permanent, and 
that it will indefinitely pursue its beneficent career. 

Apart from its future, and generally excellent in 
its intentions as it is, the Port Sunlight scheme is open 
to a few broad criticisms. One is the insecurity of 
tenure of the cottages, but it has already been 
explained that it is impossible to allow men to remain 
in the Village after they have left the Works, for 
there are only 720 houses, and more than double that 
number would be needed to house all the workers. 
General insecurity goes with all industrial employ- 
ment, and it is really one of the most painful features 
of a workman's existence ; since, however, many of 
the working classes lead somewhat wandering lives 
and continually remove,* this particular insecurity does 
not add very much to their problems. Besides, a 
good worker or a skilled artisan employed at the Works 
generally feels that his billet is almost secure, at any 
rate, as secure as in any other firm, so that his citizen- 
ship is also practically safe. 

A more difficult question is that of the outlivers, 
of whom there are some two thousand odd. Among 
them are a number of single men and young girls, 

* In the London County Council dwellings, in 1905-6, removals 
amounted to no less than 27 per cent, of the total number of tenancies j 
30 and 40 per cent, are common rates. 


most of whom find it either cheaper or pleasanter to 
live outside the Village, for it will be recalled that the 
conditions are there attractive mainly for the family. 
Many, however, must live outside the Village, because 
there are not houses enough to go round. If building 
operations are extended this difficulty will be mini- 
mized, but it is not likely to disappear, so that there 
will always be a section of the workers who do not 
benefit by Port Sunlight conditions. There exists in 
this regard a regrettable inequality which could only 
be redressed by calculating the individual value of 
prosperity-sharing for every employee, and giving 
him the option between a cash payment and residence 
in the Village. However, I believe that a family can 
always, by putting its name down, obtain a cottage 
after a reasonable time, and it is perhaps good that 
the applicant should prove himself in earnest before 
being admitted as a resident. 

Apart from families, however, the single men and 
girls have some cause to complain, and it is to be 
hoped that the balance will ultimately be redressed. 
The best way would, of course, be to increase the 
number of houses, and to establish hostels on improved 
lines. There is also the point of view of the thrifty 
worker whose circumstances are such that he would 
rather draw cash bonuses than live in the Village. 
The strictures made on profit-sharing do not apply to 
the steady man ; for him it is an ideal system. If he 
be single or have no children, or if he has relatives 
living in the neighbourhood with whom he could join 
forces, etc., he might prefer to live outside the Village 
and draw a cash equivalent. However, it is difficult 
to establish a test of thrift ; the only way would be to 


give him shares in the undertaking, and they are not 
always obtainable at par. It is not easy to adjust 
such a large scheme as Port Sunlight to the needs of 
all the participants ; in so far as its size allows, it is 
just and generally satisfactory. 

The rock upon which Port Sunlight might split 
does not loom very large on the horizon ; I mean 
paternalism a danger which is always to be feared 
by social schemes conceived and conducted by a man 
or a very small group. It could nullify everything 
that is good in the idea, indeed, make it a social 
plague spot in a democratic country. The most 
eloquent testimony to the dangers of paternalism can 
be found in a novel Mr. Harold Frederic's "Gloria 
Mundi" which is singularly convincing. There, as 
in Port Sunlight, we find a man, or rather a family, 
animated with good intentions, convinced that it is 
their duty to do the best for those whose energies 
they direct, ministering to their wants, organizing 
their pleasures, attempting to raise and to moralize 
them, but succeeding only in sapping their vigour. 
Glorified pauperism is the end of many generous 
schemes ; Port Sunlight is exposed to the danger, 
but it is likely to escape it. The fact that the con- 
trollers of the destinies of the Village do not sit 
ex officio, or otherwise, on the committees of the 
institutions, means that the pleasures of the people 
are free ; besides, the principle of the scheme itself 
being purely commercial and non-philanthropic, there 
is little reason to fear that the villagers will at any 
time be coddled. 

There is room, however, at Port Sunlight not 
only for minor alterations such as those which affect 


the liquor traffic, Sunday games and labour, extended 
restaurant facilities for the men, etc., but for a some- 
what larger scheme. It is quite clear that absolute 
democracy cannot reign in the Village so long as the 
financial basis of the scheme remains unaltered ; thus, 
the directors, Messrs. Lever Brothers, must retain 
absolute control over local conditions. Without, how- 
ever, adopting another system, it appears possible to 
give the people a greater voice in the management of 
the estate. Already they can make their voice heard 
on general matters through their urban district 
council, but even there they are in a minority, and, 
moreover, this power is but a small matter in a 
district where conditions are so good as to make 
official interference unnecessary ; the more important 
questions of rents and regulations do not come within 
the province of local authorities. At present the 
tenants can do no more than make individual protests 
and suggestions to the estate manager ; they have, as 
a rule, but little to complain of, yet it would be a good 
thing to associate them more intimately with the 
fortunes of the estate they inhabit. This is the lesson 
of democracy all the world over. However unintelli- 
gent or even unjust the legislation may be that 
proceeds in the early days from democratic institu- 
tions, the value of the training received by the electors 
is an enormous national asset. I would therefore 
suggest for Port Sunlight a "Village Council." This 
body has been tried, and it originally controlled the 
institutions ; when the latter became independent it 
died of inanition. There is room, however, for a purely 
advisory council, and it would have to ascertain from 
within the Villagers' opinion as regards rents, repairs, 


public gardens, open spaces, necessary and unnecessary 
institutions, Sunday closing, the drink traffic, etc. It 
could report on these subjects to the management 
and make recommendations which would carry more 
weight than isolated protests. If constituted on a 
democratic basis, i.e. if its members were elected by 
adult male and female suffrage, it could take an 
important part in moulding the destinies of the 
Village. It would never be incumbent on the manage- 
ment to give effect to its recommendations, but, at 
any rate, public opinion would be consulted and a 
buffer established between discontent, which may be 
unjustified, and officials who may be unsympathetic. 
Besides, it could be made into a useful institution of 
a more general nature than those at present existing. 
At Bournville it arranges for the co-operative purchase 
of seeds, tools, manure, etc. ; this would best be done 
otherwise at Port Sunlight, but the Village Council 
might prove a valuable instrument of democratic 
education by quickening local interest in politics, 
arranging lectures, debates, etc. It would also add 
to the dignity of the scheme and establish yet more 
intimately the contact between employers and 

With these minor shortcomings and desiderata 
closes that which has been for me a fascinating study. 
I am not afraid of sounding a note of caution and 
of suggesting certain alterations, for I readily confess 
myself an enthusiast of the Port Sunlight idea and 
of all that it has brought into being. There is every 
reason to think that any changes that may take place, 
now that the Village bids fair to pay its way, will 
be in the direction of freedom that the people will 



become at once both happier and better, and that 
the evolution so well begun will work towards 
beneficent ends. Thus the founder of the Village 
may well rejoice in his work and pride himself on 
a practical achievement unequalled in the annals of 
industrial Utopias. 


Accidents, 30 

Committee, 31 
Allotments, 100, 130 

rent of, 101 

yield of, 102 
Ambulance, 36, 120 
Apprentices, 117 
Archibald, Mr., 170 
Architecture, 61 seq. 

styles of, 66 

Arkle, Dr., 154 

Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., 201 
Auditorium, 93, 95, no 


Babbage, 16 

Baths, 45, 93, 95, 125, 147 

Bebington, 71 

Benefit Fund, Employees' (see OLD AGE PENSIONS) 

Benefit Society, 135, 194 

Benoit-LeVy, G., 189, 196 

Besant, Mrs., 185 

212 INDEX 

Birth rate, 165 

Bourn ville (see CADBURY BROTHERS), 4, 209 

Boys' Brigade, 172 

Bridge Inn (.$#? TEMPERANCE), 114 191 

Brunner, Mond & Co., 201 

Budgett-Meakin, Mr., 190, 201 

Burns, Dr. Dawson, 146 

Cadbury Brothers (see BOURNVILLE), 201 
Carpentry classes, 171 
Carson, Miss H. A., vi. 
Casual labour, 43, 59 
Child labour, 44 
Children, measurements of, 156 
height of, 158 
weight of, 159 
number of, 162 seq. 
,, temperament of, 181 
Church, 93, 108, 179, 194 
Clarke, Nickolls & Coombs, 201 
Clubs, dinner, 48 

holiday, 51 

horticultural (see ALLOTMENTS), 130 

list of, 122 

mutual improvement, 113, 128 

orchestral, 129 

philharmonic, 129 

scientific and literary, 129 

social and bowling, 93, 95, 125 

swimming, 124 
Co-education, 171 

INDEX 213 

Collegium, 69, 93, 95, 113 
Continuation schools, 174 
Cookery class, 171 
Co-operation, 104, 131 

,, wholesale, 132, 133 


cost of, 85, 97 

rents of, 81, 86 


Death rate, 151 

Democracy, 67, 208 

Depreciation, 95 

Dinner clubs, 48 

Drunkenness (see TEMPERANCE) 

Dust, 29 


Earswick (see J. S. ROWNTREE), 86 

Education (see SCHOOLS) 

Employees' Benefit Fund (see OLD AGE PENSIONS) 

Excursions, 181 

Factory Acts, 27 
Fire, prevention of, 37 
Fire-room standard (see HOUSING) 
Fraser, Duncan C., 160 seq. 
Future, 203 

P 2 

214 INDEX 


Garden City, 4, 86 
Gardens, 62, 93, 95, 130 
Girls (see WOMEN) 
Girls' Institute (see COLLEGIUM) 
Gladstone Hall, 46 seq 
Guinness Trust, 4 
Gymnasium, 93, 95, 123 


Holiday Club, 51 

Holyoake, J. G., 132 

Horticultural Society (see ALLOTMENTS), 130 

Hospital, 93, 95, 119 

Hostels, 206 

Hours, 42 seq. 

Housing, 72, 84, 154 

Hulme Hall, 49, 189, 191 

Illegitimacy, 149, 179 

Infantile mortality, 153 

Inn (see BRIDGE INN) 

Institute (see COLLEGIUM) 

Institutions, 105 seq. 

International Housing Congress, 154 


Kindergarten, 170 

INDEX 215 

Land, cost of, 85, 97 

Leclaire, 16 

Lever, W. H., 5, 117, 154, 160, 185, 186, 194, 195, 202 

Library, 69, 93, 95, 117 

Livesey, Sir George, 4, 19 

Lodgers, 81, 85 


Marriage, 160 

Maternal Aid Society, 140 

Medical inspection, 25 

Minimum wage, 43 

Money, L. G. Chiozza, 25 

Morality, 148, 179 

Museum, 117 

Mutual Improvement Society, 113, 128 

New Ferry, 71 


Offices, 23 

Old Age Pensions, 52 seq. % 194 
Orchestral Society, 129 
Overcrowding (see HOUSING) 

2l6 INDEX 

Parks, 93, 95 

Peabody Fund, 4 

Pension Fund (see OLD AGE PENSIONS) 

Philharmonic Society, 129 


Population, 100, 151 

Post-office, 169 

Profit-sharing, 9 sey., 189, 194 

Prosperity-sharing, 8, 189, 194 

Public-house (see BRIDGE INN) 

Rates, 89 

Religion (see CHURCH) 

Rents, 81, 86, 90, 94 

Restaurants, 46 seq^ 114 

Rest room, 45 

Richmond, Mrs. Ennis, 172 

Roads, 62, 93 

Rowntree, J. S. (see EARSWICK), 86, 146 

Safety-measures, 28 seq. 

Schloss, D. F., 15 

Scholarships, 171 

Schools, 71, 93, 95, 97, 167 seq., 191 

Scientific and Literary Society, 129 

Sherwell, A., 146 

INDEX 217 

Site, 6 

Social and Bowling Club, 93, 95, 125 

Social Secretary, vi., 112, 141 

Societies (see CLUBS) 

South Metropolitan Gas Company, 4, 1 9 

Strikes, 188 

Suggestion Box, 40, 191 

Sunday closing, 117, 119, 127 

school, 172 
Swimming Club, 124 

Technical Institute, 93, 95, 173, 194 

Temperance (see BRIDGE INN), 116, 117, 127, 144 seq. 

Theatre (^AUDITOR IUM) 

Thompson, Alderman W., 190 

Thrift, 135, 138, 140, 150, 206 

Topography, 51 

Town-planning, 64 

Trade Unions, 43, 188 


Urban Cottages Exhibition, 86 

Vallenda, Mr., 188 
Village accounts, 89, 93 
Council, 208 

2l8 INDEX 


Wages, 42 

Wallscourt, Lord, 15 

Whittaker, Sir Thomas, 146 

Wholesale Co-operative Society, 132, 133 

Women, employment of, 44 seq. 

Women's Guild, 139 





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oerflrcen Roods 

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| =======^^ 


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^ - 


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